Questions are so important in life! They are one of the primary ways that we as people learn. Questions are especially important when it comes to matters of God, Jesus, the Bible, and prayer, because the answers to these things can completely change a person's life. Below is a (growing) list of commonly asked questions, by churched and unchurched people alike. The responses to each of these questions are only meant to offer an initial reply, but where possible further resources will be recommended (such as video clips, video sermons, short articles, and even whole books) for those who want to pursue these topics further.
Before diving into these questions however, an introductory word is in order. Theologian Lesslie Newbigin reminds us that the Bible does not ever answer "our questions exactly in the form in which we put them. The Bible always requires of us a shift in standpoint, for which time and patience are needed." This insight entails a few things.
First, it means that sometimes the way we ask questions reveals a particular line of thinking – and sometimes that line of thinking goes in the wrong direction. So, often, it is not really possible to answer a question in the terms in which it was asked. Second, it is possible we are simply asking the wrong question! Third, time and patience are needed because askingquestions is far easier and quicker than attempting to answer them.
Asking a critical question, such as 'Why does God allow so much suffering in the world?' is akin to attempting to tear something down, in this case the Christian conviction that God is good. It is quick and easy to ask such a question. But attempting to answer such a question is like building something, and construction is much more time-consuming than deconstruction. A builder once said it took him three years to build a house, but with a digger he could tear a house down in under three days.
Questions are very important. But time and patience are required to satisfactorily address them. With this in mind, let's proceed!
WHY IS IT HARD TO KNOW GOD'S WILL?
The following answer is taken from Steven Furtick's post, "His Will Isn't the Point", from his website:
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter.
There’s a reason God's will in specific situations is so difficult to know sometimes. There's a reason that not everything is black and white. It can be difficult to discern God's will for a lot of situations, such as:
Who to date
Where to go to university
Who to marry
Where to move
What job to take
And it's not because you're not praying. You're probably praying a lot. It's not because you don't want to know His will. You probably aren't lacking that desire.
According to this verse in Proverbs, it's because God conceals. But why? After all, that seems counter-intuitive to God's purposes, and using you in them.
The reason isn't because God doesn't want you to know His will. He wants you to know it, more than you want to know it. God has something so much greater for you instead.
God's not up in heaven hiding His will, hoping you'll never be able to find it. But He does play hide and seek. He doesn't just want us to find His will, He wants us to find Him in the process. Because if His will was in plain view, we would seek it instead of seeking Him.
That's why He conceals it. That's why it's so hard.
The point isn't for God to make His will plain. His will isn't the main objective. He is the main objective! He wants you to discover Him above all else.
As you run after God and his good, pleasing, and perfect will, remember these two truths:
God isn't the shortcut to your best life: He is your best life. And God doesn't want to give you the guide for your life, He wants to be your Guide.
The scariest possibility for your life isn't getting God's will wrong – it's getting God’s will right, but barely coming to know Him in the process.
You could love the right woman, but lose your first love: Jesus. You could find the right career but then make it your god.
That's why He doesn't just write His will for you in the clouds. At the end of the process, He wants you to know something far greater than what you should do next with your life.
He wants you to know who He is.
A sermon entitled 'How Does God Guide Us?' from the Alpha course.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO MISS OUT ON GOD'S WILL FOR MY LIFE?
Should I stay up late at night, worrying that I have missed out on God's plan for my life?
In Luke 7:30, we read one of the saddest and sobering statements in all of the Bible: "But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves."
Two things are worth noting here. First, it is possible to reject (and therefore miss) God's will. Second, the Pharisees and Torah teachers didn't reject God's plan for their life, but God's purpose.
Plan. Purpose. What's the difference?
A plan implies something that is fixed, like a blueprint. Once someone has deviated from it, then they have opted out of the plan.
Purpose is a better word to describe God's will for our lives. He has loving purposes for us – that we may know Him better, that we may learn the simplicity of faith, the power of prayer, the authority of the Holy Spirit working through surrendered and bold Jesus-followers, that we might bring Life to others – and so on. Now yes, we all fall short of those purposes.
But God exercises a flexible sovereignty, so He is able to incorporate our obedience and disobedience into His purposes, and re-mold things accordingly. Jeremiah 18:1-11 shows that God both acts and re-acts, He initiates and He responds – to both human obedience and disobedience.
So is it possible to miss out on God's will for your life? Yes. But if you are in that place, you are only one act of confession and repentance away from being re-aligned with God's will.
God's will for you is liberating, pleasing, joy-filled, and permeated by peace. It is possible to miss out on this, but it is possible to do all kinds of unwise things in life. Since you have a choice, why would you?
Click the question for some answers