Calculating God’s will

Posted: 30th May 2008 by ElShaddai Edwards in Uncategorized
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The following was published today in Mikey’s Funnies, a daily humor subscription email:

By Michael A. Halleen

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

John Cardinal Deardon once observed that “The designs of God are not able to be calculated.” We prove Deardon’s insight when we try to discover the will of God in the details of our lives. Does God want me to sell the house?… Attend this college, or that one?… Change jobs?… Get married?… Go on that mission trip? One church member told me it was God’s will that she had been sick at home all week because she had been able to receive a lovely phone call from her sister. (I didn’t dare ask her what she thought about God’s will for those who experienced the cyclone in Myanmar or the earthquake in China that same week.)

The will of God, I think, is more basic than we have made it out to be. Our difficulty is in calculating — or accepting — the simplicity of God’s expectation. God speaks grace, but we hear law. Jesus made it plain: God’s will is that we should treat people as we ourselves would like to be treated in a similar situation.

So the specific circumstances of my life are not, in themselves, what God “wills.” What matters is the kind of person I am in the midst of those circumstances. Married or single, living in Phoenix or in Sydney, healthy or unwell, God’s will for me is the same. Employed or unemployed, waiting tables or waiting in line, running an errand or running a company, I am to love (to be kind and truthful toward) the people around me wherever I am and whatever the circumstances of my life and theirs — family, neighbors, enemies, those who disappoint or fail me — all of them. No one earns his way into God’s love, and no one ought to have to earn her way into mine.

Occasionally one hears some objections to this “Golden Rule”:

  • People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Love them anyway!
  • If I do good, people will accuse me of having ulterior motives. Do good anyway!
  • Being kind and truthful with people will make me vulnerable. Be kind and truthful anyway!
  • I may spend years trying to build a relationship that the other person may tear down overnight. Build anyway!
  • People need help, but they end up attacking you if you help them. Help people anyway!

God’s designs are not able to be calculated, but God’s will is clear: We are to do for others just what we hope they would do for us.


Copyright 2008 Dr. Michael A. Halleen. Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.

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