Dear Morning Devotion Group: I apologize for last week’s absence. I was involved in a busy week of Vacation Bible School and was unable to find the time to write. We pick up where we left off with the second of a two-fold focus for those seeking the poverty of spirit…Larry
Understanding God’s Will
I use “understanding” as a verb, suggesting we are involved in a process that will not be completed in this life. It is possible to come to a limited understanding of God’s will in the noun sense, as long as we realize our vision will always be impaired by sin and human weakness. This is another one of the realities that calls us to spiritual poverty.
Have you ever considered the fact God may not want us to understand His full will, at least all at once? We are normally so determined to discover what He wants us to do, such an idea seems unfathomable. Why would a God who painstakingly revealed truth to us through His Holy Spirit choose to withhold anything? And yet, we sense a definite frustration in His writers as they strive to remain devoted in the midst of circumstances that lack clarity. In the Psalms we read, “Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1) And again, “Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?” (Psalm 44:24) In his first letter to the Corinthians the Apostle Paul shared his future hope of a visit, but stopped short of any promises: “I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits” (1 Corinthians 16:7).
We can only imagine how Abraham felt when God asked Him to sacrifice Isaac on the mountain. God didn’t tell Abraham He was sending him to the mountain to test His trustworthiness. He just told him to go and offer his only son on an altar. Abraham went understanding (verb), but not really understanding (noun).
In my relationship with my earthly father there were many things I did understand. I knew I was expected to do my homework, clean my room, mow the grass, take out the trash, and shoot an intruder with my 20-gauge shotgun that I kept under the bed. Alright, so the shotgun thing was a little weird, especially since I was thirteen at the time. But most everything else was similar to the tasks all of my friends were asked to perform. From time-to-time my father also shared higher ideals and dreams for my life. He wanted me to love the Lord and serve him. He would say, “I don’t care what you do for a living as long as you find a way to please God.”
But there were also the unstated things. I know from conversations I had with my father before his death he wanted me to find the place God had prepared for me. I don’t mean to suggest there was only one place, but I came to realize my father was much more aware of the way God had wired me than first imagined. He may not have known where I would end up, or even what God would do through me, but he had some definite notions of what might work best. My father would have wasted his time had he tried to explain this to me when I was a young man. He knew some understandings take time, and must be acquired through personal struggles.
If it was this way with my earthly father, then how much more must it be so with my Heavenly Father. He has revealed portions of His will to me in scripture and helped me discern other aspects of His plan for my life, but is waiting until I have matured in my journey to show me many other things. Of course, the possibility exists He is already trying to teach me these things and I am yet too dense to see them. Either way I am incomplete and need to pursue the poverty of spirit to come to greater knowledge.