Give Yourself to Others …

Posts Tagged ‘God’s will

I certainly cannot say what everyone means when they use this phrase: The Providence of God.

One definition of providence is “the protective care of God.”  But it seems a bit more complicated than that.

The way I hear people use the phrase seems to imply God controls and perhaps even manipulates events and circumstances for the benefit of those who believe in and follow him.

I think it’s fairly obvious there are times when such a view is hard to grasp or even accept.  Most often, when something tragic happens.  Does anyone believe God directs a newborn baby to be born with a life threatening defect or cancer?  Does anyone think it is God’s will people die in a fire?

This past week, a woman was flying home when the engine of the plane exploded into pieces, she was partially sucked out the window of the plane and later died — did God make that happen?

Some quickly say, we don’t understand God’s plan for us.

But I don’t think these events have much to do with God’s plan for us.

God’s plan was for us to be reconciled to himself.  Our failures to conform to his will separate us from him, and the point of Jesus and the gospel was to create a pathway to restore our relationship with God.

God’s plan is not that we should have a problem free life.  God’s plan is that we should submit ourselves to his will.

God’s will is supreme, not because he imposes it on us, but rather, because we intentionally submit to it.

God’s will is manifest in the world as the result of our submission to it.  Personally, I see God’s will manifest in the lives of his people responding to the events of life.

Bad things happen.  Good things happen.  But in all things may we always find a way to submit to God’s will and conform to it.

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In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl wrote,

Between stimulus and response, there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Over the years, this quote has been very popular … I think for obvious reasons.

But I also think there is another purpose for the “space”.  Probably more than one.

In that space is the opportunity for us to submit our will to God.  To subjugate our selfishness to the loving will of God.  To say, rather than respond the way I want to respond, I will respond the way God wants me to respond.

One of the struggles in using this space for this purpose is the time, effort and discipline it takes to consider how God would prefer we respond.  It’s unlikely to be an automatic response.  It’s much more likely to require thoughtful consideration.

On a side note … our ability to use this space is also what separates us from being just another form of life.  It is evidence of our unique ability to think and act against our human nature, sometimes act against our own self interest.


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