How many times have I talked to students, parishioners and even strangers about “the will of God” and how to know it? I certainly don’t recall, but I do know what I say to people who seek to know God’s will.
First of all, I point out that if God really is anything like a “heavenly Father,” God is not going to hide His will for us from us. What parent would call his or her child close and say, “I have great plans for you, a really amazing design for your life…and I hope you figure it out!” That would worse than absurd—it’d be cruel! So, first of all, rest assured that God’s will is not somehow “hidden” for us to hopefully stumble upon. In fact, it’s right out in the open, clear for all to see! Just read the Book…and there it is: rejoice always, pray without ceasing, do unto others as you’d have them do unto you, etc. But, of course, what people really want to find is that “specific” task, that unique place they are to fill. That, while not as obvious as what is written, also is easy to find. We need only look inside ourselves.
In one of the Psalms, we find written, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of you heart.” Some have taken this to mean that if we delight in God we’ll have whatever our hearts desire. However, I read it differently—if we delight in God, if we pursue God, if we take an interest in what interests God, God will put in our hearts divine and delightful desires…God will actually put in our inner-most being a desire to be and live a certain way. So, to find God’s specific will for our lives, we should examine those deep, internal drives and desires. Of course, we have two natures…so all we need to do is see what it is that we really want to do that is NOT contrary to God’s will as expressed in the Book—directly or indirectly. For example, we can be pretty safe in guessing that God would not put in us a desire to be a pimp, casino owner, drug dealer, gun runner and the like. God wants us to be a people of grace and goodness, a people who helps others, not hurts others.
So, here I am. I’ve taught this in so many places, to so many people…and now it’s time to take my own medicine! We face a cross-roads of sorts, and we wonder what to do. We ask, “What does God want us to do?” Of course, we’re often as egotistical as the next person, thinking that if we make a “false move” that God’s great plan will irreparably damaged, or at the very least, knocked off track so has to delay the parousia hundreds of years. Ha! We’re just not that important to the grand scheme. All God really wants of any of us is to live the faith and to live with joy, impacting the lives around us in positive ways, life-changing ways that bring God’s grace to those around us.
Therefore, I must go forward confidently, knowing that I am a teacher, and that I can use my position as teacher to enter lives of others to positively affect them. So, I go forward, confident in my vocation, sure in the path that lies before me…living life with joy and helping others to find joy as well.