The Bigger Picture
Asking God what His will is for you is such an important question. If we are honest, we often push for our will to be done, thinking that we know what is best for us. When we find ourselves contemplating a new job opportunity, relationship or major expense, like a new car or house, we may find it comes down to our will versus God's will. When they match up to the same answer, it’s awesome! However, when they contradict each other, we may find ourselves in a battle of wills.
As Christians, though, we know that God's will is always better, simply because He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what lies ahead and what is best for us. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us of this fact: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
In my life, I have applied four practices to help me discover and understand God's will for me. First is prayer. In prayer I have shared my dreams and plans with the Lord and sought His guidance. Then, I’ve spent time reading the Bible, researching and studying how God led other people through their lives. Another practice of mine is fasting. When I fast, it helps me hear His will clearly. And the last practice is talking to spiritual leaders in my life. I rely on these practices to help me find and understand the answers to questions that maybe aren’t always clear.
Many of us have asked for God's will to prevail when pursuing someone we like. I remember being very attracted to girl when I was in college. I really liked her and she seemed to be exactly what God would want for me. She loved the Lord, she was smart, beautiful and involved in school.
We started getting to know each other and going on dates. During this time, I sought the Lord and my prayers went something like this: “Lord if she is not the one you have for me, please close the doors. Even if it hurts, don’t let it flourish. I need for your will to be done.”
We kept spending time together but about two months later something changed. One week, she suddenly became very distant. I wondered what had happened and would soon get a clear answer.
As I was leaving class one day, I began walking toward the dorm when I saw her from very far away. As I got closer, I realized that she was talking to her ex-boyfriend.
I went inside the dorm and had a strange pain in my chest. The pain wasn’t physical though, it was emotional. So, I decided to stop and pray.
The entry in my prayer journal that day says the following: “God, we live in a world full of disappointments. What we desire does not work. When we ask God for His guidance, we ask for His truth, but we can’t handle the truth. We want to do our will. All I know so far is that God is a God of love who knows what's best for me, who knows how I can become the happy human being He desires me to be. Disappointments are there, but also God is there with His arms open telling me, “It’s ok son, it’s ok you can’t see the whole picture but you will later.ust trust me, just trust Me.”
God pulled me through that time and helped me get over that incident. Interestingly enough, five months later I met another girl named Ana. I married Ana, and looking back on our seven years of marriage and our baby girl, I can’t imagine being married to anybody else. God told me in prayer to trust Him with His will. Even though there were things I didn’t understand at the moment, they would become clear with time and I would understand later. I realize now that back then I couldn’t see the whole picture, but God could. I surrendered my will to His and He guided me on the path to my loving family.
By Paulo Tenorio, Texas Conference Youth and Young Adult Director