Does God’s will always happen?
It seems like a simple yes or no question. Yet, it’s so much more complex than just yes or no. It’s so much more nuanced than just “Yes, it does” or “No, it does not”.
- I believe that God is fully in control.
- I believe that nothing happens that does not pass through His hand.
- BUT . . . I also believe that not everything that happens in our day to day lives is part of His perfect will for us.
- I believe He allows certain things to play out because, in the context of His overarching, beginning to end, unthwartable will for all of mankind and eternity, we have been given free will.
Uncomplicated this is not.
We are not puppets on a string. Nor are we actors in a cosmic play where the script cannot be altered. We have been given the ability to make choices . . . to choose to follow God’s leading for our lives or not . . . and with those decisions come consequences.
Every single day we make decisions. We decide whether to seek God, to spend time in His word, to pray, to live out what He has called us to or not. We make decisions regarding relationships . . . ya’ll divorce, abuse, affairs, broken marriages, and broken families . . . none of it has ever been in God’s perfect plan. We make decisions regarding our personal health . . . we have the free will to decide what we put into our bodies and how we care for our bodies, but at the same time we are also making decisions that will have consequences affecting our health and often our life span. We make decisions involving work, leisure time, our families, and our futures. And all of these decisions have consequences for ourselves and for others.
Some of those consequences are “good”.
Some are “bad”.
Some aren’t of particular importance.
Some are minor.
Some will affect us and others not just here on earth but eternally.
We live in a fallen and broken world. When Eve listened to the serpent, and Adam chose to follow Eve in that decision, sin entered in. So often I hear the question, “How could God let this happen?” And every single time, my answer which may seem overly simplistic, maybe even flippant in its brevity, is anything but. We live in a fallen, broken world ruled by Satan. (Stay with me here because it’s not all doom and gloom. There is good news to come.)
“And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:8-11
“The LORD is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
God’s will was never for mankind to turn from Him or be ruled by sin, and yet, we did. God’s will has always been for us to spend eternity with Him. Yet, everyday people make the choice to reject Him. They make the decision to walk out their lives and spend eternity without Him, and He allows it. Not because He’s not loving. He is. Not because it doesn’t break His heart. It does, but God did not create pre-programmed robots. He created mankind with the free will to choose the path we will follow.
Last week I wrote, When It All Feels Heavy, and the reality is, as the week wore on the heaviness grew. I sat last night and watched the news angry and heartbroken. Angry at choices made that led to outcomes that should never have happened. Heartbroken for the immense loss being suffered by so many. And as I watched, I wondered on a very personal and maybe seemingly selfish level, “How will this affect the lives of my children?” Because it’s already destroying lives both half a world away and right here on U.S. soil.
So I circle back to the question, “Does God’s will always happen?”
And the answer is both yes and no. While it’s complicated to explain and grasp, it’s not contradictory. While I sometimes have trouble wrapping my mind around the complexity of it all, I also can stand in place where two things are true at once . . . God knows every single second of my life . . .
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16
every choice I will make, every outcome even to my very last breath on this earth
I have free will to make the choices and decisions that will affect those outcomes.
I promised there was good news, and y’all, it is so good. Because Jesus came to earth, fully God and fully man, and sacrificed His life for our sins (John 3:16), we can live a life that may be imperfect but that is marked by a confidence in knowing not only what our future ultimately holds but Who it is that holds that future both here on earth and beyond. He didn’t just die, He took all of the sins for all eternity upon Himself. Can you imagine the crushing weight of carrying the sins of all of mankind ever? Yet, His love for us is so profoundly and infinitely deep that He willingly did that. When the word says that He is not willing that “any should perish” it truly means any. But you have to accept His salvation. With that acceptance comes a hope and joy and a peace in the midst of all the hard and the scary of this life and this world. Because there is a victory in life with Jesus that is irrevocable. And that, my friends, is the very best news. Yes, you still will have free will and choices to make, but you make them knowing that God is guiding you, and if and when you do veer off track, if you live a life submitted to Him, He’s ready to gently lead you back.
One day, in what I firmly believe is the not so distant future, the word of God says “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth” (Philippians 2:10), and this won’t be optional. Because God’s plan for the world and mankind will play out according to His will, and we will either bow willingly or unwillingly . . . but bow we all will.
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