Thy Will Be Done
Decisions are always tough. They don’t always have to be, but as humans, we always find a way to complicate things. Don’t believe me? Try asking a group of people, ANY people, Where to eat. No one in the car has any suggestions. Everyone is fine with everything. No one wants to be responsible for the decision.
And that's just lunch! What about when we’re faced with some of life’s tougher decisions? Where should go to church? Where should we live? Where should our kids go to school? Around every turn, adult life waits, ready to punch us in the face with the next big decision we have to make.
Over the six months or so, my wife and I have been faced with a few such decisions, the most recent of which was a great reminder to us how we’re supposed to handle the weight of such decisions.
Spoiler: we’re not!
Let me explain.
When I’m not writing, or remodeling my house, or parenting a gaggle of children, I’m usually at work. I work in sales for a large tech company. It’s a fast-paced environment, where decisions often need to be made on the fly. It’s also a very scalable career path. which is great… except for when it’s not.
I was deeply torn when I was approached a few months ago about a position that would take my family out of state, leaving little time for ministry, but would offer an extremely significant pay raise. On the one hand, I want to be able to provide much more for my family. But, on the other hand, I want so badly to be faithful to God and his calling.
So, naturally, I spent countless hours toiling over the decision myself. I spent a significant amount of time bouncing my thoughts, and feelings, and fears off of my closest friends, and letting them speak into my situation. I talked through the scenarios with my wife until we were both blue in the face.
Finally, after wasting so much time trying to conquer this beast on my own, I prayed. I prayed a very simple prayer, to the effect of “God, I only want to pursue your will. So I will continue to pursue this opportunity until you close the door.”
And then nothing happened. But a good nothing. I never really heard anything new about the job. Updates became less and less frequent. Information became more and more scarce. And I started to realize, God probably shut the door, just like I asked him to. I didn’t have to worry about the decision anymore.
Cut to about two weeks ago. My wife is pregnant with our fourth child. With three others ages 6, 4, and 2, our house seems to be shrinking by the minute. We’ve been very blessed, but it feels like the people, the clothes, and the toys are starting to cause our home to burst at the seams. So, we started looking for a house. And right away (literally the same night we started looking) we found “the one.” Within three days, we had found a house, walked through it, and drafted our offer. This house was like a gift straight from above. Great price, great size, great location, and somehow no one had snatched it up yet. So we secured our financing, worked on our offer and were just about ready to send it. But that small voice just kept telling me to wait until Monday. So at some point during the weekend I prayed, “God, I’m going to keep going, if this is not your will, shut the door.”
Sunday night, before I fell asleep, the Lord put “James” on my heart. So the next morning during my quiet time, I spent about an hour and a half reading and journaling through all five chapters of James. Overall, James writes some really solid stuff on Christian living. And at the time, I thought, “Huh. Okay. Not sure why I needed to read any of that today, but I guess it’s good solid stuff to stick in my back pocket. Thanks, God!”
So, I wrap it up, go home, and finish signing all the paperwork for our offer. I send it off and await my reply.
Which I got a very short time later.
They had accepted another offer.
But instantly, while I was still on the phone receiving the news— When I should have been crushed— I remembered what I had read that morning, and was completely at peace.
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
- James 4:13-17
God had again done exactly what I had asked him— His will.
Did we love the house? Absolutely! Did we love the idea of a huge pay raise? Absolutely! Would either of those things have been better than the perfect will of God? Not a chance!
And the beauty of recognizing that, and your prayers reflecting that truth is, that you no longer have to carry the weight of those decisions by yourself. You no longer have to have all the answers. The decisions no longer have to rest on your shoulders alone. There is tremendous peace that follows when you sincerely ask God for His will to be done, and you’re obedient in those moments when He reveals that will to you.