Let The River Flow
Many years ago, I had a conversation with a pastor acquaintance about his personal mission statement. I know. I have riveting conversations.
He told me that he believed his ultimate purpose was "to know and do the will of God." Then he said something like, "It's just that simple."
As I recall, I pointed out that his stated purpose was a lot more complicated than he imagined because it was all predicated on the ludicrous notion that a person would be able to know the mind and will of God.
"The best you can do is guess at it, right?" I asked him. "And what if you guess wrong?" And then--because I've always struggled to understand this--I added, "Or what if you think you believe something to be God's will, but it's actually yours."
The guy had no good answers for me. He grew flustered and blurted out, "If you are maintaining your Christian walk, and doing everything to stay in the word you'll be able to discern what God's will is!"*
*Translation: If you don't drink, smoke, swear, lust, or become a backslidden Presbyterian (whoops), and you read your Bible every single day, you'll be holy enough to know and do God's will.
What I've come to understand since that conversation all those years ago is that knowing and doing the will of God is not some sort of puzzle to put together, or a mystery to be solved.
The best way I can describe it is this: The "will of God" is a flow. It's like a river, and we are all in it. And if we choose, we can be moved along by the current in this flow, which is gentle enough but firm and purposeful.
Or we can try to fight it by swimming upstream, flailing around, refusing to drift.
Or (and this the option that most of us take) we can try to change the current through our own efforts because we want the river to flow the way we want it to.
Christine Aroney-Sine recently wrote about this last option when she asked this question:
How often do I confine the river of God and try to build impenetrable barriers to its flow because I don't want God to change my course?
May you find the peace to let go and let the ever-flowing current of God carry you closer and closer to God's ultimate will. May you discover new levels of trust that God will lead you where God desires for you to go.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.