God’s Will is like Crossing a River

Sunrise and mountain flowing stream

I was standing on the edge of a river with a 60 lb. pack strapped to my back.  I carefully watched as my companions picked their way across the river, jumping from boulder to boulder.  Now it was my turn.  We’d been backpacking for several days and according to our topographical map, we had to cross this river to reach our destination.  What the map didn’t show was how big and fast the river was.  And it certainly didn’t show which rocks were the most reliable way across.

The first few steps were pretty easy going.  There were larger boulders to lean on to help keep my balance.  But after a few steps, it became much more challenging.  Some rocks involved a leap, which is risky when you’re carrying a pack.  Other rocks were slippery.  Each step involved careful calculation.  Finally, we scrambled to safety, everyone managing to get across without getting too wet.

So, did God have a “will” for which rocks to step on and which rocks to avoid?  That may sound like a silly question, but it’s not that different from the questions I hear all the time about God’s will.  “Does God have a will for which person I should marry?  Does He have a will for where I should live?  Does God have a will for whether I should take that promotion?  Does God have a will for which shoes I should wear today?   Does He have a will for whether I should sleep in late?”  (The answer to that last one is always “yes!”)

God definitely cares about every detail in our lives.  Scripture tells us that He even knows the exact number of hairs on our heads.  But although our Shepherd is always guiding, He gives us tremendous freedom in making choices.

Most often, when people are trying to figure out God’s will they ask questions like, “Is it God’s will for me to buy a new car?”   This is the wrong kind of question.  Instead we should ask, “Is buying a car a wise thing to do?”

The Bible teaches that God gives freedom within boundaries.  Just as a child is free to play with any of the playground equipment so long as she stays within the playground fence, God gives us boundaries like: “Do not commit adultery.  Do not murder.  Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

These boundaries tell us what to avoid.  God also gives us boundaries that encourage us to make the best use of our choices, such as, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength,” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Let’s face it, when we ask questions about God’s will, we’re not usually wondering about the difference between right and wrong.  We’re not asking, “Should I lie or tell the truth?”  What we really want to know is “How close to the boundary can I come before I get into trouble?”  For instance, a man doesn’t just wake up one morning and decide to cheat on his wife.  That big, “out-of-bounds” choice was preceded by hundreds of smaller, unwise choices about how close to the line he could get without going out of bounds.  Here is where we need wisdom to make our choices.

When I crossed that river, there were certain boundaries I had to respect.   Up river, there were rapids – that was out of bounds.  Down river was a small waterfall – that also was definitely out of bounds.  But between these two boundaries were dozens of rocks that could be used to get across.  With each step I was essentially thinking, “Is it wise to step on this rock?”  Some rocks turned out to be wiser choices than others, but most stayed within the boundaries of good ways to get across.

God’s will is like choosing which rocks to step on to cross a river.  Once we’ve accepted Jesus as our Lord, He doesn’t have just one right will for our lives.  He doesn’t have one college for us to choose, one spouse for us to find, one career to pursue.  He doesn’t have one will for what you should eat for breakfast or how you should style your hair.  Instead, He gives us boundaries.  To help us make wise choices within those boundaries, God gives us wisdom through the Bible, godly counsel from people who walk closely with Him, and His own presence to lead and guide.

The Bible says, “If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask God…and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).  Today, as you seek to live out the adventure our God has for you on His paths of righteousness, ask Him to give you wisdom.  Then ask yourself, “What is the wise thing to do?”  After doing those things, step out in confidence that He will lead you.

(This blog was adapted from the StressBusters devotional book – see our products page to order book)


2 Comments

  1. TODAY HAS DEFENITLEY BEEN A DAY OF CHOICES…
    MY CAR DID NOT PASS SMOG,,BORROWED CAR DEAD BATTERY WHEN I CAME OUT OF WORK!! WOW..
    WHAT IS GOD TRYIN TO SHOW ME…
    BE STILL AN KNOW THAT I AM GOD ALONE…
    DONT SWEAT SMALL STUFF..JUST REMBERING THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES AN LOVES ME IS WHAT I NEED TO PUT SMILE ON MY FACE…

  2. Hej ErikB. Din analys stämmer helt med min. Vi gick helt enkelt skitbra och det var bra o jämna vindförhÃ¥llanden. Dehler 34DD är en riktigt j-a bra bÃ¥t. Näst snabbaste tiden av alla bÃ¥tar är ju riktigt kul. Bara en Linjett 40 var snabbare (5 min). Övriga Dehler inkl. 34S/V var lÃ¥ngt bakom. En liten grej bara.. genua 1 är en kevlar 3DL frÃ¥n North Sails.. Sitter som en &qÃ;tosmu¤ck".//StefanK

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