I once heard a pastor say that close to 90% of all the answers pertaining to what God wants you to do can be found by consulting the Bible. I wholeheartedly believe that most of our anxieties about God’s will can largely be relieved by studying the scripture and following through on its guidance. Now I know that it’s not always easy, simple, or convenient to obey, but figuring out what He says isn’t as complicated as a lot of people make it out to be. (See more on How to Find Answers) But even though it’s not usually complex or mystical, there are definitely those times when the Lord isn’t as forthcoming with specifics as we’d like… but I’ve discovered that not knowing isn’t always a bad thing. Here’s why…
3 Reasons Why You May Not Know God’s will…
God is merciful
1 Peter 4:19 – those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
The Apostle Peter reveals some disturbing news about God’s will. The above verse states forthrightly that it is His will that some will suffer. Now, this is not really what most people want to hear when they are asking for divine guidance, is it? We prefer for Him to simply rubber stamp our plans for health, wealth and prosperity. However, all too often difficulty and pain serve as indispensable catalysts for great spiritual growth and change.
I often think about the martyr Jim Elliott as a prime example. Though possibly not as well known as he once was, this devout man of God heard and answered the call of the Lord to take the Gospel to the hostile South American Auca natives. I imagine that he made plans carefully and prayed fervently before leaving by small plane for his appointment with history. But what if God had made it clear up front that he would be brutally murdered soon after he encountered the very people he was sent to reach? That the seed of faith that now grows in that community would have to be watered in with his own blood?How likely would he have been to diligently pursue that mission field? Do you think he would have wanted to leave his wife and child knowing for certain that he would never return?
But as history eventually proved, Elliot’s death was the conduit through which others reached those people for the kingdom of God… and additionally, his brave story of commitment has touched millions and inspired thousands to the mission field.
So, sometimes God doesn’t tell us what’s ahead because He knows that TMI (too much info) might actually get in the way of us doing the very thing we’re asking about! And isn’t responding without knowing all the details the definition of trust and faith? (Hebrews 11:1)
God wants to direct us.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.- Psalm 119:105
That verse from the Psalms is often quoted by Christians who are looking for guidance. But instead of being satisfied with a lamp, many are secretly hoping God will give them a spotlight instead. I mean, most of the time we think one good look at ‘the big picture’ would be the best thing to get us motivated in the right direction. However, if we actually did see the whole map of our life all at once, the natural inclination would likely be to say “Thanks Lord, I’ll take it from here,” then head off in the direction we think looks best. But God doesn’t intend to send us on a mission alone. Instead, He invites us to join Him in a journey, following Him step by step, and often that means keeping the ultimate destination and encounters along the way cloaked in mystery.
God wants us to seek a relationship and not just answers.
Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. ~ Psalm 105: 3
If you’re asking God about His will, and you’re getting nowhere, it might be that you need to back up and ask yourself a significant question… and that is:
What is your motivation for seeking God’s will in the first place?
If it’s about finding what will make you happy, prosperous or otherwise personally fulfilled, then you shouldn’t be surprised when God is silent. (James 4:3) The creator of the universe isn’t the celestial version of a vending machine or a google search, doling out favors and answers whenever we want. Jesus is always seeking relationship. And so, sometimes He withholds the specifics because He knows that all we are really looking for is the answer. But He wants more.
He wants you.
So remember the encouragement found in Psalm 105. No matter what question you have for God, your primary motivation for coming to Him has to be that you want to know Him! As you seek Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30) and delight yourself in Him (Ps 37:4), you’ll find that He supplants things that are less worthy of your affection. Then He is glad to give you “the desires of your heart” which surprisingly turns out to be God Himself!