This week we are focusing on the "in between" times that come into our lives when God shuts "the door of what has been" but has not yet opened "the door of what will be." We are doing this in part by taking a closer look at three understandings of God's will that we were introduced to last week. Yesterday we looked at God's "prescriptive will," Today we are looking at God's "sovereign will," and tomorrow we will look at God's "intervening will." With all three of these understandings of God's will, we are looking to Psalm 139 for insight. It is hoped that these insights will enable us to handle the "in between" times of our lives in the best possible way.
Here is some of what we said last week about God's sovereign will: not all that God desires for us as people actually happens. We know, according to his prescriptive will, that God does not desire for "any" to perish and that he desires "all" to come to repentance. But, in the end there will be those who have repented (God's desire) and those who perish (not God's desire). When we get to the end of time, all that actually happens is God's sovereign will. We will look at "God's sovereign will" today as seen in the following verses from Psalm 139.
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. Psalm 139:13-16
Notice the words, "in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me". God put his sovereign plan in place for your life before the first day of all your days and after the last day of all your days it will be that all that was ordained in his sovereign plan for you will have happened. "God's sovereign will" is is a rather complex subject and full treatment of it would go way beyond the scope of our Devotional. But let's try to unravel it a bit.
Imagine a man who is out of work right now (August 18th) and he is considering a job offer. He and his wife have a 2 year old and a 5 year old who will start kindergarten in a few weeks. Their financial resources are running very low, his wife has been ill and the upheaval hasn't helped, and the whole family is becoming quite worn down. The pressure of his circumstances weigh heavily on him and significantly influence his decision making process.
On and off during this "in between" time, the man has prayed and sought God along with his wife and family. But now the availability of this job and the pressure he feels from his circumstances seem to overshadow the clear leading of God. The job will require a move of about 3 hours away from where they are. If he doesn't take the job, his 5 year old will begin school in one place and then be uprooted when he finds a different job later on, their finances will run out, and the instability of his circumstances will continue to take its toll on him, his wife, and his family.
The thought here is that "ideally" there should have been a more complete decision making process that (1) wasn't so heavily influenced by circumstances and (2) included a greater depth of seeking God for guidance and following his leading. Here is the point: this man did not miss God's will for his life. While correspondence to the prescriptive will of God may have been lacking, God incorporated what actually took place into his sovereign will for his life. With God's intervening will (which we will look at more closely tomorrow) we see how God is able to incorporate every single choice we make (even those that are lacking in correspondence to his prescriptive will) into the grand scheme of his sovereign plan.
We said earlier that God put his sovereign plan in place for your life before the first day of all your days and that after the last day of all your days it will be that all that was ordained in his sovereign plan for you will have happened. This is quite a mysterious thing for us as human beings and may seem to be very confining but it is not really. Remember, the one right door myth. We don't think about finding God's will in terms of his sovereign plan beforehand. However, when we are in the "in between" times that come into our lives when God shuts "the door of what has been" but has not yet opened "the door of what will be," we can find great comfort, assurance, and security in knowing our God had a sovereign plan for us.
In addition we know ahead of time that when we finally do go through the door of our choosing (even if there is some faultiness in our decision making process) we will be walking in God's will for our lives and the knowledge (at that later point) that God's sovereign plan has taken place will be very helpful. The perspectives and confidence that come from this kind of understanding in regard to "God's sovereign will" greatly diminish the struggle that comes to us when we are in the "in between" times of our lives. It is truly amazing thing to grasp the extent that God has gone to bring about the absolute best outcomes for our lives.
Lord, you are amazing to me and I have hardly scratched the surface of knowing about you or knowing (experiencing) you. Give me a hunger to know you more fully. Grant that my desire to seek you and know you far surpasses my preoccupation with knowing the "details" of your will for my life. Here I am, Lord! Renew me in my surrender to you and my willingness to live fully for you.
Posted on Tue, August 18, 2015
by Alan Porter