Maybe you’re like me. When I see an article (or a sermon, book, pamphlet, smoke signal, etc.) on the topic of finding God’s will, I feel a sudden tinge of hope that the message might be “the one.” And, though you may have never defined it that way, you may very well have been searching for “the one” message as well. This one message, of course, is the message that will specifically answer your particular questions about what the future holds. No vagueness or generalities, this article would surely give you clear instructions to determine which decisions to make.
At least, that’s my hope when I open one of these messages. And no matter what questions may be on your mind (Where should I go to school? Who should I marry? Is it wise to start a new show on Netflix right before midterms are due?), I wouldn’t doubt that many of you also open these articles hoping to find a specific answer to your question.
I was thinking about this as I listened to a sermon titled “How to Know the Will of God” by John Piper (found through the “Sermon of the Day” podcast by Desiring God). Though I might have guessed Piper’s point before listening, the idea was one I needed to hear again. Simply put, Piper spoke of walking in step with the Lord so that you will discern his will in your day to day life. Coming from Romans 12, Piper argued for a daily renewal of your mind, a daily sacrificing of self to the Lord. His words brought to mind a short book by John MacArthur which argued along the same lines: align your life with the Word, and move from there.
Though true, that wasn’t the message I was initially hoping to hear. As with nearly every message on the will of God I find, I was waiting for a mystical answer. I think I assumed that God would use the channel of the sermon to open my eyes to his future plans for my life. Instead, he reminded me to be about his business at all times, trusting that he will guide me as I follow him. He reaffirmed this truth in my time with him this morning as I read about his sovereign guiding of Saul and Samuel in 1 Samuel 9-10. The truth of Scripture is that God doesn’t often give people detailed information about their futures in advance. But he always gives them what they need to follow him.
Maybe Doc Brown had it right all those years ago when he warned against too much knowledge of the future (I know that was a stretch, but I couldn’t pass up the reference). Maybe the key really is to live every day in step with God and to act in accordance with his will, trusting him as I follow day by day. Maybe this is what walking by faith and not by sight really means. Maybe it’s better for me to bring my questioning and ignorance to him and simply trust him with what I can’t see rather than looking for some detailed roadmap of my future. I still have questions, but I feel more content in my ignorance knowing that God is in control of my life. I trust he’ll make the way clear in his time. Until then, let me be found faithful.