This past week, our family spent some very intentional time together. We did this in preparation for sending Peter (my hubby) back to the Middle East for another chunk of deployment. The time he spends there will add up to over 13 months. To say this season has been challenging is an understatement. At times, the only thing sustaining me is the memory of how it came about.
I was worshiping one morning when the job offer came to Peter. All at once I was compelled to stop, get on my knees, and pray for my husband. It wasn’t until later that I found out, during those same moments, Peter had received this offer of deployment. It was a clear answer to many prayers. Needless to say, I wasn’t about to stand in the way of God’s will even though I REALLY disliked it. During these last six months, I have returned many times to this memory. Knowing we are in God’s will on this has brought comfort in the most difficult moments.
There is a well of peace to draw from when we are in the will of God.
I have drawn from that well often. But there was a time when I didn’t even know that well existed. A time when I did not hear from God so clearly. I was so set on my own ways that I had no desire for God’s will or Way. I had little understanding of who He was or how to connect with Him.
So, how on earth do we go about knowing God’s will when we have a hard enough time knowing Him? This, my brothers and sisters, is a major reason the Bible is so important. It is in reading the Word that we can begin narrowing down what is not God’s intention for us as His children. It’s about time we stopped fearing His good direction. It is time we began declaring that love is not opposite of law, but the fulfillment of it. God did not create law to condemn us, but to show us how to live more closely with Him, where every need is met. To be in His will is to be in His presence, and that is all He wants… to be with us.
This is a regular topic on my heart, yet a difficult one to put into words. Any time God’s law is mentioned, the world recoils and positions for attack on the church. My recent thought on this matter was inspired by our six-year-old daughter’s new method for solving mazes. As the family sat for lunch last Saturday, the last day we could really enjoy family time before Peter’s departure, Evelyn colored on the provided placemat. She suddenly belted out her strategy for completing this puzzle without error…
“I’m X-ing out all the trap spots on the maze!”
I had to stop what I was doing and record that nugget! In one sentence that kid summed up the thing so few of us can seem to figure out about God’s will and Word. Almost as if we were blind, we Christians run headstrong into those X’s instead of acknowledging that He put them there to bring us closer to Him.
Intimacy was the intention when He declared His law to His people. Relationship has always been God’s intention. If you are God’s people; if you seek to honor Him because His love has brought you life… then you have a roadmap for success with all the dead-end detours already X’d out for you. There is only one Way. The world tells us that there are many ways which lead to the same place. But if you’re trying to find a Person to know instead of a place to conquer, then there is only one Way. That Way is Jesus and the law is part of the plan whether we like it or not.
I’m not claiming to have all the answers here. None of us can know the details of God’s will so as to follow it 100%.
None of us know 100% of God.
It makes perfect sense that we feel stuck in this obscurity at times. But don’t you know that He reveals things to His people? If we don’t know what His will is, then maybe that’s because we aren’t acting much like His people. Maybe it’s because the parts He did reveal through the law, we keep trying to rewrite so we can blend in with the world that He called us out of. Maybe it’s time we all take a trip back through the Word and start highlighting the X’s He wrote in for our benefit.
Maybe actually listening to God could help us hear Him more clearly.
I so look forward to seeing this type of passion for God’s law manifest in the lives of those who claim Christ Jesus. I look hopefully and expectantly for God’s church to express the same joy in following His law as we do in recieving salvation. May these challenging words stay with you as you navigate your own X’s today.