Sometimes it seems the hardest thing for a Christian to do is to accept God’s will.
We pray and ask God for help — to heal us, bless our lives and change our situations. We pray that God will answer us in the way we want, and when He doesn’t, we become frustrated and question the love of our Heavenly Father.
Let’s be real and honest: Christians do get angry with God at times. I have. Our faith wavers when we can’t understand why bad things happen to good people. We become despondent when tragedy strikes. Confusion sets in when we pursue and still suffer hardship. We’re stunned when the doctor gives a negative report. We may get depressed when we pray for a promotion and a colleague gets the exact job we asked for. We begin to doubt God’s goodness when things don’t go our way.
We often forget that God is sovereign over His creation. When we struggle to accept God’s will, we need to remember He has a plan for our lives and we are not in control. That’s a hard truth to admit at times.
Many times, we ask God to change our situation, but God is more concerned with changing us.
I remember praying for 10 long years that God would change my career and give me the job that I wanted. He allowed me to struggle and strain all that time because He ultimately wanted to change my mind about my career. He wanted me to want what He wanted. I had to surrender to Him and relinquish my stubborn will.
Through that intense spiritual trial, I finally learned that God wanted me to honor and obey His will for my life even when I didn’t fully understand it at the time. I now have the career that God knew was best for me all along — with opportunities to share God’s Word with the world — and I absolutely love it!
In my devotion the other day, I read Isaiah 55:8-9 for about the thousandth time. It’s amazing how we can read God’s Word over and over and still miss something it is saying to us. But when we open our hearts to the Spirit of truth, then the meaning becomes so clear. The Lord declares in these verses that His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways.
We think small, He thinks big. He sees the end from the beginning. He knows what works and what doesn’t. He knows what’s around the corner for us and what is years ahead. He desires to give us the best when we just want what is good. God’s thoughts are as high as the heavens are above the earth. We cannot fathom His ways because we are human and He alone is God.
When we read about Jesus as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, we see that He had to surrender to God’s will. Yes, it was God’s will for Jesus to suffer and die for the sins of the world. Jesus asked if there was any other way, but there was none. Obeying God’s will meant that He would suffer a horrible crucifixion. We read in Luke’s Gospel that after praying in agony, Jesus said, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
Jesus died on the cross, but God raised Him from the dead with all power and victory over sin, death, hell and the grave. His obedience to God’s will provides sinners like you and me the only way to gain eternal salvation. Remember, God sees the end from the beginning. He knows exactly what He is doing.
Are you struggling to obey God’s will? Has God revealed a path for your life that you don’t desire or understand? Let me encourage you to surrender and obey. Whatever the situation, you can trust that your Heavenly Father knows you better than you know yourself and only wants the best for you.
Rest in the fact that He loves you more than you love yourself and that His love never fails. Trust Him to guide your path as you acknowledge Him and take each step. Be thankful that your Father’s ultimate will is to prosper you and give you a future and a hope in Him (Jeremiah 29:11). You will begin to see God’s power and blessings for your life only when you follow the example of Jesus, and say, “Thy will be done.”
— Redunda Noble is a writer in Anderson, S.C., where her husband, James, is assistant professor of pastoral ministry and interim vice president for diversity and inclusion at Anderson University.