No, it’s not God’s will

Every now and again I get frustrated with what, henceforth, I think I’ll ironically refer to as “faithful” fatalism. Maybe you know what I’m talking about?

It’s the reassurance you get from fellow Christians that … the leadership position that failed to be filled? God will fill it! That miscarriage you just had? God has a lesson for you to learn! That president that just got elected, whom you have doubts about? It happened, so God obviously wanted it!

Sometimes those un-reassuring reassurances just make me want to scream. Guess what? Some pastors turn out to be pedophiles, despite your hopes. Some churches split and collapse, despite your faith. Some people are driven to suicide, despite your love. Do you think God wanted that!

When I look at Jesus, the image of the invisible God, I have to say no. The Son was no sadistic schoolmaster, he was not tolerant of unjust religious leaders, so why should I imagine the Father is? Then when I look to the story of Job I have to ask, have we sometimes confused God with Satan? Have we over-interpreted God’s sovereignty to the point we’ve forgotten God is not the only power at work in this world?

Sometimes the faithful thing to do is not to take this crap lying down but to actively resist it. Resist it as if it is coming from the enemy. Faith is anything but fatalistic. Faith is the ability to see alternative realities … and act accordingly.

8 thoughts on “No, it’s not God’s will

  1. Well said!! This is one of my major problems with the New Calvinism. I’ve heard people actually respond to scenarios like that of paragraph 3 as saying that yes, God did want it. John Piper said in one of his books that a bullet that killed a missionary’s daughter was guided by the hand of God and was not a tragedy; in contrast, not living for God is a tragedy.
    In my opinion, that perspective is a tragedy.


  2. Hi Mat,
    Hi Mat,
    When we attribute tragedies, rapes, murders, and injustce to God’s soverignty we have definitely overstated it.
    I like to believe that heaven’s reign is the reign of overflowing grace, mercy and compassion.
    Shalom to you and may God greatly encourage you, inspire you and continue to lift you up in your ministry.
    Many thanks,
    John Arthur


  3. Thank you for shining the light of truth on the misunderstanding of the sovereignty of God – one of the most problematic issues in the church today. 2Pet. 3:9 states that God does not want ANYONE to perish, but EVERYONE to come to repentance; and yet unrepentant people are perishing every day. That alone should illustrate that God’s will is not automatically accomplished here on earth. Jesus taught us that we need to pray that His will be done on earth.
    Thank you for pointing out that it is the enemy, the god of this age, who has blinded the minds of unbelievers (2Cor 4:4)and continues to fling fiery darts of fear and unbelief into the minds of the saints (Eph.6).
    God’s NOT GUILTY! The sooner the Body of Christ understands that, then we will rise up in the power and authority Jesus has given us to RESIST the devil (and the sin, sickness, poverty, and death he is responsible for) and he will flee! Blessings for you and your inspirational message!


  4. I guess the major sin here is avoiding responsibility. It seems to be hard-wired into us to pass the buck in whatever form that make take – whether blaming politicians, immigrants or family, or whether it’s saying that everything that happens is God’s will. In Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, the old monk Zosima says: “There is only one salvation for you: take yourself up, and make yourself responsible for all the sins of men. for indeed it is so, my friend, and the moment you make yourself sincerely responsible for everything and everyone, you will see at once that it really is so, that it is you who are guilty on behalf of all and for all. Whereas by shifting your own laziness and powerlessness onto others, you will end by sharing Satan’s pride and murmuring against God.”


  5. I really like that quote, it really clarifies my currently vague faith and understanding of the Bible. After a few years of self examination and testing, I found out I was an ISFP type person. I am not “intuitive” in a cognitive sense, but like this forum I also am at odds with how the common phrase “God’s will” is sprinkled in life’s ups and downs like salt and pepper.
    I always remind myself that Jesus functions as a shepard, and we are his sheep. No matter how intellectual or creative someone is, they are still sheep that must follow. So God’s will can somtimes in my opinion be seen as the actions to keep the sheep in line from that pesky wolf in sheeps clothing. I see that in some instances of conflict or pain, it might have been God’s will to have the individual learn the hard way after repeated warnings, in order to return once again with the flock. The end reward is living a responsible and rich spiritual life. Academic / material rewards are not guaranteed outcomes of the proccess, which still is hard to accept somteimes :/
    Also, since Jr. High, I always had a fascination with science, specifically chemistry. The idea of being a research chemist that would desgign new catalysts or discover new reaction mechanisms drove me to major in chemistry while in college. I prayed for guidance and confidence as I undertook the challenging program. I studied hard and maintained a positive attitude, but my upper divsion couses broke me down unfortunatly and my grades suffered. It seems I did not have the intellectual abilities needed to graduate or make a career out of chemistry. It was quite a sad experiance, a death of a dream.
    I am entering the 2nd semester of my Junior year in college and its been hard to find what are my true God given gifts that I can apply in my studies into an eventual career later in life. Trying to understand/feel what was the will of God in this part of my life has been tough.


  6. It sounds tough. My own experience is that sometimes my sight is clear and sometimes it is cloudy. Jesus, as God amongst us, makes it clear God has compassion for the humble. And that he seeks relationship with us as we stumble. But the timing, and the terrain in between, we don’t always see that. My suggestion is hold on to what you do know even as you struggle with what you don’t know.


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