Interesting day today -- not much happened other than my cello lesson and some more job applications. I know -- yesterday, I said I had had enough, and thought I was finished applying for a while. I did a little more searching, applied for a couple different positions (got turned down on some -- hey, at least I got notice back!! Ha!!) I spent some time thinking about God's will for my life and what all this means -- I mean -- how it all works. You know...how does the process of God's will work in actuality. I get the whole message part, the spiritual aspect, but it is the practical part that seems to throw me off kilter. I spent a good deal of time in prayer and meditation, and then finally decided on this metaphor:
"And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes." ~John 21:6 (KJV)
One of our Pastor's used this story as part of the closing series on the life of our church. I remember him saying that we are spreading a net out and hoping to catch some fish. His point being that as a church our job is to cast the net out -- it is God's job to catch the fish.
As I thought about God's will, His specific will for me, this is the picture that came to mind. In my hunt for work, I have applied to every possible job out there. Some I have been very qualified for; some so-so qualified. Some I have heard back on (no); others no specific word. I was getting pretty discouraged today, thinking that I wasn't qualified to do any work (given that I have been self-employed for ten years); and I started to really get down about it. Then this picture came to mind and it helped me think about what I am doing. In essence I have cast my net out into the open waters, and I am waiting to catch some fish (jobs). I don't know which fish will get tangled in my net, and which ones will slip away; but I am doing as the Master says: "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find..." and hoping that He will find me some good fish today.
As I pondered this idea of casting my net out, I got a better understanding (at the least, I think so) of how His will works in practicality. You see, my desire is "thy will be done," so I am very interested in making sure that I am doing His will at all times. I am not perfect in this by any means; I just mean that it is a chief desire of mine to make sure that I am not walking outside the scope of His will (I hope that makes sense). My hope is to make sure that whenever I am faced with a decision, that I am seeking His guidance before I do anything. I want to make sure that I am choosing options that are within that will -- and therefore -- I seek that sense of peace, of rightness, of yea and amen. I want to make sure that the choices I make are in accordance with His will, His word, and the plans He has for my life. In doing so, I believe that I will be able to live a life of good conscience, and a life that is honoring and pleasing to Him.
I guess the point I was mistaken on was in thinking that God's will was one thing only, like this way or that way. In truth, God's will is variable for us, like an umbrella or a net. It arches over us and covers us so that where ever we walk, we are under it. I used to think it was just like a thing to be possessed (today while at Wal-Mart this thought came to mind -- how I think His will is like picking an item off the shelf -- it is yes or no -- a product to be purchased). I was mistaken in this belief because though I have believed it was so, it has not shown itself to be as such. Instead, His will has been fluid, more of permission to pursue certain things that are covered under His great umbrella. If I asked for a thing, He often said "yes." I thought this meant the thing was to be picked off the shelf, when in reality it was that it was "possible." The Word from Luke 1:36 reminded me of this fact the other day, "for with God nothing is impossible." I was thinking so concretely when God was simply saying to me (my paraphrase here): "Yes, this thing is possible in your life." It wasn't that it would come to pass or was a done deal; but rather, that God was agreeable to me thinking a certain way or pursuing a certain path. I wish it were more like going into Wal-Mart and just picking up the "thing" that is His will for me -- oh how much easier life would be -- but that is just not the case. Instead, we must trust Him and know Him, and then we can receive the promise Jesus made to us in John 15:5-8:
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
We can have what we ask for so long as we abide in Him. We can ask with confidence and know that if it is His will for us, then it is possible (will it be certain to come to pass -- perhaps yes; perhaps no -- but the thing will be definitely possible! PTL!)
When I think of His will for my life this way, it seems to make such sense. The funny thing is that instead of having more confidence in the thing coming to pass (like before); I have confidence in God's ability to bring the thing to pass (does that make sense?) I am not placing emphasis on the thing, but on God's ability to do whatever I ask. There is no guarantee that He will do it -- that is totally within His perview -- it is just that He gives me the grace to accept His provision no matter whether it does come to pass or it does not.
The end result is this: I can walk away from any circumstance with one thought in mind -- God's ability to do something is never shaken or never less than perfect. If I look to the thing only, then I will always find disappointment. Perhaps the thing will come to pass (PTL!) or perhaps it will not -- nevertheless -- my faith in God's ability to do what I have asked of Him is not changed; it is only strengthened.
I don't know if that makes a whole lot of sense or not, but it is my newest revelation on the workings of God's will in my life. This life is a journey, and this is what I think today. Only God will clarify for me, and if I am wrong, He will help me to accept and understand what His will is in His perfect time. Until then, I will cast my net out on the right side of the boat, and hopefully haul in one good fish (a job!)
It is so hard to understand how your will works in our lives. I am totally agreeable to your will coming to pass, but it is difficult to understand the complexity of it. Thank you for helping me to see a little more clearly how your will works (and how it doesn't). My prayer today is that the net I have spread into the job market ocean will yeild back a good fish (or many perhaps). In any event, I take confidence in this fact: you are able to provide for me in season and out, and you are able to draw fish (jobs) in my little net. May you be praised today and forever more, and may I rest in the knowledge that the Master Fisherman is at work, never slumbering or sleeping.