How often do we, especially as Christian young adults, have to make big decisions?
All the time. We’re beginning the transition from dependent minors to self-sustaining adults, and that requires many decisions to be made—what car to get, what job to take, what school to go to, etc.
In the midst of these consequential decisions, I’m sure most of us only want to do what God wills for us. We’re crying out to God, saying “Lord, what do you want me to do? Whatever it is, I’ll do it, just tell me.”
But often, we view these decisions as a game show, wondering which door the jackpot lies behind.
Of course, we may be sincere sometimes, but most of the time I find myself asking for God’s will because I seem to think the door God approves of will have the least consequences and most return, because God has blessed it.
When a decision has a big payoff or big downside, we want to be relieved from the responsibility of making that consequential decision. But often, I’m given the silent treatment, shouting at God to show me his will, but getting nothing in return.
And it’s frustrating, because it seems like God doesn’t care.
But maybe it’s the opposite.
God’s Will Is Not Stress-Free
We all have this mentality that if we follow God’s specific directions, we deserve a life free from distress and anxiety. But that’s just not how God works.
In Christian rapper Lecrae’s song “Background”, he says: “I know I’m safest when I’m in your will and trust your Word.”
Nothing against the guy, but sometimes God’s will is the exact opposite.
God’s ultimate will for us is that we become like Christ (Ephesians 1). That comes through being heated and pressured by the trials and decisions of this life, to be formed into a beautiful, sparkling diamond.
How we go through the “door”, and who we become once we’ve been there, matters more than which door we go through.How we go through the “door”, and who we become once we’ve been there, matters more than which door we go through. Click To Tweet
James 1:2-3 says that trials are a good thing. And Jesus himself said that God only gives his children good gifts and not bad ones. And if trials make us more like Christ, and they are a gift from God, maybe going through turmoil is within God’s will. Because it shapes us. Makes us more like Christ.
Often, God leaves us to make these decisions, almost like wandering through the wilderness on our own, so that we can learn from whatever decision we make and become more like his Son through it.
If a parent made all their children’s decisions for them, the child would never be shaped into a person of character and quality; if God took all the heat away from us we would remain black lumps of coal.
We’re shaped by learning from the consequences or benefits of our decisions. Sometimes it’s painful, but this is how we’re polished.
Sometimes it will seem that God is saying, “I don’t care.” But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about us. It just means that he cares more about spiritual growth than colleges or careers or cars—which is what we should expect from a loving father.
Decisions are part of life. Life hurts. Hurt forms character.
God doesn’t usually tell us to seek his specific will, but most of the time just to seek him. His wisdom. His truth. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God…and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5) God doesn’t make our decisions for us. He equips us to make decisions.
When you’re praying for God’s will, you shouldn’t expect a supernatural message from the clouds or a mysterious letter in the mail, though he can work that way. Sometimes he does have specific things he wants us to do.
But if he wants us dealing with specifics, then he’ll make that mission clear. Most of the time, however, wisdom alone is enough to make the right decision, if there actually is a “right” decision.
And let’s not think of God’s will as a purely individualistic thing. I get caught a lot of the time not even asking anybody else what they think. This is a dangerous trap to fall into, because often you’ll be led by your feelings, rather than actual communication with God.
If you’re genuinely seeking God’s will, then pick a few wise people you know who have had more experience discerning God’s will, and talk to them about your situation. Pray with them.
Ask them for guidance and wisdom based on their own experiences. Or bring it to your church and ask them to pray over you. Ask your pastor for biblical guidance. That’s part of why the church is there, to build each other up.
You may not get some supernatural sign, or even a still small voice, but godly wisdom may be enough to discern where you need to go. And if it isn’t, then like I said, God will make his mission clear.