“… in general, it is God’s will that we ourselves should have a great part in determining our path through life. This does not mean that he is not with us. Far from it. God both develops and, for our good, tests our character by leaving us to decide. … God is preparing us for a life of initiative, so I know that God will be with me even when he does not tell me what to do. His presence is known in ways different from his specifying what he wants done.” Dallas Willard, Hearing God.
I recently encountered someone who felt the need to determine God’s will regarding her health. This person was obese, had gained a considerable amount of weight in a short amount of time, needed a sleep apnea machine due to effects of her weight, and could barely walk a short distance without huffing and puffing. As I listened to this person speak, I wondered exactly what she thought God might say to her, “My dear child, remain intentionally unhealthy, it is my will for you that you not be able to breathe at night. It is my will that you eat your feelings instead of turning to me, your comforter.”
When is it ever God’s will for us to self-harm? The answer is never. It hurts God to see us hurting. His love cannot stand to see his beautiful creation living with emotional pain.
I don’t believe God created us to be empty headed believers, lacking the ability to make sensible decisions. People tend to seek “God’s will” despite knowing what the sensible answer to their dilemma would be. Instead of seeking “God’s will”, I wish people would be more honest and admit that what they are actually seeking is God’s guidance and a sense of personal peace.
We are sometimes so desperate to have God approve decisions which we know are not good for us. We stall by engaging in what I refer to as spiritual procrastination. Spiritual procrastination involves engaging in honest spiritual disciplines without the right intentions. We pray knowing that we are asking for something that is against the will of God; we seek the advice of fellow Christians whom we know are not in a right relationship with God and who are likely to give us the answer we want; we start reading scripture with the hopes that after thousands of years, God’s commandments might have some how changed over night in favour of our dilemma; and we start quoting guilt scriptures such as, “thou shalt not judge”, “ye without sin cast the first stone.”
I didn’t want to be hard on the person seeking God’s will for her waistline. Sometimes we are not ready to hear or face the truth about our situations and how we got there. If I could say anything to her, I would say, it is never God’s will for us to harm ourselves. Seek God’s guidance on how to best care for one’s self. He will place people in your path to provide encouragement, guidance, and solid information. If you want to talk about God’s will for our lives, it is always God’s will that we listen to the messengers He sends us.
Questions and Reflections:
-What do you think God’s will is for yourself specifically and for all of humankind?
-When was the last time you sought “God’s Will”? What were you hoping to hear from God?