The Will of God (Part 3): God's Ultimate Will
“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” Amos 5:24
So, let’s go back to that river image for a moment. God’s intention is for there to be this stream of love that justly flows through our world and coaxes everyone and everything to it and eventually joining in it. But things and people (circumstances) keep damming this river of love up: humans (given free will) acting in rebellious and selfish ways; disease; natural disasters; etc. So, God works to find another way around these obstacles taking these new circumstances into consideration (God’s Circumstantial Will). But eventually God finds a way through. Nothing can stop this river from moving through. We or circumstances can stop that river for a time, but eventually God’s River finds a way! (God’s Ultimate Will).
Let’s take an example for just a moment. Let’s just say (and I hope it never happens) your daughter is in her car, headed home from college, and she is hit by a drunk driver and is killed. As her parents, you struggle with this tragedy. You wonder in your heart, why God would allow this to happen or even will this to happen. I mean if God is in control, how could a loving God let this happen? But then you read these articles or better yet, Leslie Weatherhead’s “The Will of God”, and you begin to understand that this isn’t God’s will at all, that this is not a part of God’s plan! God wanted your daughter to live a long, fruitful life, but then “life” happened. In this case, another human being, struggling with an addiction that may have been caused by a terrible relationship with an abusive father in the past, chooses to drink too much and because of his actions, your daughter’s life was tragically cut short. God didn’t cause this at all.
So where is God in all of this? Well, first, according to Weatherhead, God is NOT planning it! God is just as shocked and broken and angry about this as you are! God is grieving the loss of this beautiful life cut short. Again, God’s intentional will for your daughter that she lives a long and fruitful life. So where is God? Right there with you, joining the protest against drunk driving! God is right there with you, trying to figure out what to do next, working out a new “circumstantial” will for you and for the world.
So, what might be one of the new responses God might be working out through this circumstance? One of the greatest responses, in my opinion, to tragic situations like this is an organization call “MADD”. Mothers Against Drunk Driving. This is a movement that has been born out of a group of parents who, in their anger and grief, decided to take their anger and grief and use it for something good. They chose to use their anger not to “get back” at those who caused this, but to do all they could so that this would never happen again. I feel with all my heart that MADD and groups like this are “God inspired” groups. God is using them to bring about a better world. God is taking this tragedy and turning it into an instrument of good. MADD, in a real way, is a living example of the cross. In the cross, God took an instrument of destruction and terror and turned it into an instrument of hope for the world. Through MADD, God has taken a tragedy, the death of a young woman, and turned it into a movement determined to eradicate drunk driving from our lives. God’s ultimate will is beginning to take root! This is how God can take even a tragedy and use it for good.
So, there you have it. God’s will broken into three different ways of working in the world. I hope this is helpful. In the next couple of reflections on this understanding of God’s will, I will try to point out some of the struggles that folks have with this model and try to help us work through those struggles. If you have a struggle with any parts of this understanding of God, please email or text me. Or share them in the reply section of this blog. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. My phone is 605-610-7793.
Your friend and pastor, still working it out with a God who is always trying to work it all out, Brook