Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mystery of God's Will

Folks who keep up with my book reviews will know that one of my favorite authors of Christian devotionals is Charles Swindoll. Over the past 10 years I have read dozens and dozens of his books. I appreciate that he never tries to be hip, trendy, or flashy. He just tackles each topic with a straightforward, approachable manner. If you have ever heard his Insight for Living radio program, his writing style follows very closely to his folksy preaching style. His goal has always been focused on expository teaching based on the bible. I find that his books are very much like comfort food to me, something to savor, enjoy, and bring me peace. It has been a few years since I have picked up one of his books and so I decided to dive into The Mystery of God's Will.

Discerning God's will for our lives is a tricky subject. For Christians trying to understand what God would have us do when it comes to making the major decisions in our life, whether in relationships, career, or planning for our future, is a difficult topic. Certainly the bible has nothing to tell us about who specifically we should marry or whether we should take the job in Dallas or New York City. However, Swindoll argues that while God's will is mysterious, it is not opaque. Regardless of what happens to us, for better or for worse, we can build a strong foundation for our lives on the truth that God loves us, is with us, and will never abandon us. In the darkest of nights and in those periods of uncertainty about which direction we should move in, Swindoll exhorts us to
  • Wait and persevere with a confident faith
  • Face all trials with a submissive humility with a constant focus on prayer
  • Find rest in our sovereign God and trust in His plan
  • Remember that we are being conformed to the image of Christ through our trials.
If we can just develop a firm trust that God is in control and knows what he is doing, we can have faith that all things will work out for his good and his glory, even if we don't come to understand the how or the why. Of this truth, we all need to be given regular reminders.