Missy and I often pray to more clearly understand God’s will when making major life decisions. When a variety of things all point one direction (including prayer, opened doors, godly counsel, etc) we typically see it as pointing toward what God wants. But when multiple things go against a certain direction I wonder if we too quickly discount it as against God’s will.
Listen to what Paul went through because he believed what he was doing was the will of God, “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” – 2 Cor 11:23-28
If we prayed for God to make his will clear and we started down a path that resulted in shipwrecks, floggings, and imprisonment I think many of us, including myself, might quickly abandon ship believing it was a sign from God that he wanted something else from us. Yet Paul kept preaching and teaching. I have known people who have left ministry for far less frustration than this. Many face road blocks and determine it must not be God’s will but obviously that is not always the case. Sometimes he wants us to face those challenges and come out on the other side more dependent on God than ever before.
How do you do your best to determine what God wants you to do? Do you think we often too quickly bail at the least sign of resistence?
Good questions! I’ve heard people use the “open door”/”closed door” method of determining God’s will, and I’ve used it myself. I like the way you brought 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 into the discussion. I don’t have any answers, but I’ve linked to this post on my blog. I would love to hear from other people on this issue.
How interesting! I think most of us humans WOULD say, “Wow, God must be telling me to go a different way because of all the obstacles in my path.” What a thought — Paul didn’t give up, why should we?!
Here is the link to my post, which was inspired by yours. A short discussion has started there. I hope more people take part.