Posted by: JennyRain | October 17, 2009

The intersection of Divine will and human purpose

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

– Thomas Merton, “Thoughts in Solitude”

This is one of my favorite prayers from a Christ follower attempting to ascertain God’s will in his life. I feel lost quite often, so to me, reading this poem at a time where God seemed to be silent on the subject of Divine direction, was so reassuring.

Have you ever questioned what God’s will?

If you have not ever asked God “What is your will?” as a Christ-follower, you are definitely in the minority! In the study Experiencing God, by Henry Blackaby, this is one of the first topics that is discussed.

Blackaby claims that to ask, “God what is your will for my life?” is to pursue the wrong question. Instead, he says, asking “God, what is your will?” is a better one. This is because, Blackaby asserts, our lives should follow the activity of God already occuring in the world and so to seek God’s will is to see where God is already working, and to join Him there. Blackaby’s premise, God’s will is where God is already working.

This has impacted my prayer life

I often find myself praying, “God show me where you are working and enable me to join You there.” It is fun to watch God’s response to that prayer as often He will open my eyes to things I did not see before I prayed.

Additionally, there is something about praying a God-focused prayer (God what is YOUR will) versus a Me-focused prayer (God what is your will for MY life), that is freeing.

First, it is freeing because it gives us a choice. A choice to stand back and ignore what is going on around us as God shows it to us, or a choice to get involved and use our gifts to participate.

Second, it is freeing because once we see how God is working, we then are given choice to participate using any one of our gifts. We know that in any given situation one, or a combination of a variety of our gifts may be appropriate to the situation.

I am grateful for the fact that I do not have to figure out God’s will for my life.

I can focus on seeking God, knowing as Merton says, that in the seeking of God I am pleasing Him. Where I am pleasing God, I am doing what I have been designed to do.

The Bible tells us in Romans 11:36 that all things are from God and through Him and for Him.  In other words, He made all things through His Son, Jesus Christ, for His own pleasure!  Therefore, as it suggests in the very next verse, the most reasonable thing we can do in response to God is to add to His pleasure by living our lives completely for Him. (1)

I can also ask God to help me see His activity and give me the sensitivity and will to join Him where He is already working. In doing that, I will become a part of God’s will being expressed through God’s people in God’s world. In doing those things, more often than not, I then find some answers to my questions about what in the world I’m supposed to be doing with my life, and that is reassuring!



  1. […] The intersection of Divine will and human purpose (How do I determine what God’s will is?) Where does Change come from? (How does change happen, and what does this mean for me?) Should I stay or should I go now? (Should I stay in a situation, or get out?) Progress without Opposition (If you want to progress, you will encounter obstacles) When you have done everything, Stand. (What to do when you are overwhelmed by the battle) […]

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