Do you ever wonder about God’s will for your life? I think most of us have been there. We’ve pondered life changing decisions, unsure which direction God wants us to go. We’ve read books that promise to help us find His purpose for our lives. We’ve interpreted open doors and shut doors as “signs” from God and, most of us, have tacked those famous words on to the end of our prayers: “Please God….if it is your will!”
But, I am learning that the key to knowing God’s will is simply abiding in Him. And that abiding in Him is largely achieved by abiding in His Word.
I am a slow learner, but a few key experiences have been “fast forward” moments on this journey. The story that I share here is one that is memorable to me, but certainly does not represent a “method” or “formula” for finding the will of God. My hope is that it will simply point you to the goodness of God and inspire you to seek His word every day.
First, the backstory….
Years ago I read an amazing book called, “Three Little Words” by Ashley Rhodes Courter. This true story chronicles the struggles of a young woman who spent most of her childhood in foster care. In the book, Courter notes that nearly 200 people touched her case during her time in the foster system. She speaks most highly of the volunteer child advocates assigned to her case and even credits one of them for getting her out of an abusive foster home and helping her to find a permanent family.
As a sidenote, these child advocates (also known as CASAs or Guardian ad-Litems) are typically the only unpaid volunteers in the foster care system. And, they have the only role that is solely dedicated to seeking out the best interests of the child.
As soon as I completed the book, I felt a nudge to advocate for foster children.
A few days passed. I began to doubt the nudge. Maybe it was just guilt that was nudging me. I was unsure.
But, I decided to explore the possibility. I found information for my state and filled out an online interest form. As I learned of the preparatory work involved (interviews, background checks and 30 hours of training) my doubts grew deeper. My feet got cold.
At the time, I was homeschooling 4 kids and caring for my elderly mother who lived with us and who was in terrible health. It just didn’t make sense to add one more thing to my life. But yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should do this. I asked for prayer from our Community Group. A wise friend spoke up and reminded me that if God was calling me to do this, He would confirm it in His Word.
Well, the very next morning, my already scheduled bible reading plan took me to Psalm 82. Verses 2-4 jumped off the pages of my Bible.
“How long will you hand down unjust decisions
by favoring the wicked?
Give justice to the poor and the orphan;
uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.
Rescue the poor and helpless;
deliver them from the grasp of evil people.”
I was overwhelmed. Give justice to the orphan. Uphold the rights of the destitute. Rescue the helpless. In those early morning moments, I knew that I would be living in disobedience to God if I did not pursue this prompting. God’s Word had, indeed, confirmed His will.
Now, one thing I want to point out – this was not a situation where I sat down with my Bible and demanded that God give me a word. Like I said, this was my “already scheduled” reading for the day. God was gracious in his sovereign rule to make that day the day I would land on Psalm 82. It’s not always so clear. But, abiding in His word does make countless other decisions clear every day.
Proverbs 3:5-6 has been one of my most favorite passages for as long as I can remember and I believe it speaks to this “abiding” as well.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
The way I see it, you can’t really trust Him unless you know Him. And, the best way to know Him is through His Word. Once you know Him, really know Him, you will care deeply to acknowledge or, as some versions say, submit to Him. The promise of a life lived this way is clear….He will make your path straight. You will know how to live for Him so you will know His will.
So, tell me, how do you find God’s will?
The Praying Through Scripture prayer journal can help in your journey to abide in God’s Word.