Should I enter the mission field?
Who should I marry?
What career do I choose?
The teenage years carry with them a world of daunting decisions. At times it can feel as if the rest of your life needs to be mapped out by senior year. You may frequently wonder “What is God’s will for my life?” and wish He’d reveal the answer on a flashing billboard.
God’s will just doesn’t always seem clear. If you’re facing this right now, remember these four things:
1. God’s plan isn’t ours to discover. His character is.
God’s will can be described in two basic ways: The first is His plan–what God sovereignly and unchangeably decides. The second is His commands, which express to us His inward desire and character.
Theologians may use the terms “secret” and “revealed” will for these, since God’s sovereign decree is unknown to us but His desires are clearly revealed. Deuteronomy explains, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us” (29:29).
God’s plan is not ours to know–and this is beautiful! Just as a spoiler ruins a great movie, knowing the future plan of God would cause us to miss the sweetness of learning to trust in God’s faithfulness through struggles.
What is ours to discover, then? God’s character.
An infant doesn’t feel secure because she knows every detail that lies ahead, but because she feels an intimate closeness in the arms of her mother. We don’t need to know the future; we need to know God himself.
In the face of difficult decisions, cling more and more to Christ; cherish His sovereignty, patience, love, and every other detail of His character – not to discover an answer, but to discover more of Him.
2. God’s will isn’t a puzzle.
I enjoy solving the Sudoku puzzles that come in the newspaper. But there’s a problem: There’s only one solution. If I fill in a box with a “6”, I have to be absolutely certain it belongs there. Nothing tells me I’ve made a mistake, so if I’m not careful I’ll keep obliviously filling in numbers until I eventually realize I can’t finish the puzzle.
I’ve ruined it.
It’s easy to treat decisions like a puzzle. Which is the “correct” college? Which is the best career choice? What if I make the wrong decision, and I mess up the rest of my life?
Brother or sister, God’s will is not a puzzle–and neither is your life. Our loving Father cares for you far too much to leave you chasing clues toward a “correct” solution. In fact, in His grace He often gives us many “correct” choices – namely, any choices that align with His commands and biblical wisdom.
It’s not for us to figure out the “answer” but to freely choose anything that glorifies Him. And there are many, many examples in scripture that prove that not even a poor decision can thwart God’s intentions.
3. Your answer probably won’t be supernatural.
In the past, God revealed His will in supernatural ways – through dreams, visions, angels, voices, and more. With so many of these examples in the Bible, we may get the impression that this was – and is – God’s way of guiding His people through big decisions. However, this has never been God’s norm.
God’s loves to guide us in everyday ways. Sometimes he works through a list of pro’s and con’s. Sometimes he works through conversations with a parent or pastor. Sometimes he works simply by aligning circumstances in a certain way.
None of these should be considered “God’s voice” by any means, but they often act as God’s method of guiding us toward a wise decision. Passages such as Proverbs 19:20 remind us of this: “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
Perhaps you’re considering going into the ministry or the military. Maybe you’re unsure whether to pursue a romantic relationship. Don’t look for an inner voice; look for the guidance God may already be giving.
4. There’s no reason to worry.
Decisions are tough. They’re incredibly important and can impact not just our future but also those around us. But this is no reason for anxiety. Be comforted by the words of our Lord:
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? … Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Matthew 6:26, 31-32).
Christian, you don’t need to have it all together. God, our loving Father, knows what you need, and He desires good for you. Decisions are important and we should treat them as such, but they surely don’t worry God. His plan for you is immovable.
So cherish His character, not His plan. Don’t treat His will like a puzzle, but confidently trust in His care. Value the guidance He’s given around you, and don’t worry. His will for your life, believer, is good.
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning, new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me