Sometimes I wish Google Maps could give me traveling directions for life. You know, sometimes it might help in knowing God’s will for, say, the next thirty years?
Wouldn’t it be nice if knowing God’s will for your life was that easy?
- Imagine if we could zoom out to see the big picture.
- Or zoom in to get the details.
- Turn by turn, where we’re going, and how long it takes to get there.
For many of us, our problem isn’t our eternal destination—heaven. (Though, if you’re not sure about that, you’ll want to firm that up today.) I tried searching for “Heaven” in Google Maps, but it’s not there. But I located “Hell” in Michigan. (I guess it does freeze over after all.)
But God’s will isn’t necessarily a complete mystery.
We Want to Know God’s Will
Even after we know our eternal destination, to be honest, our real curiosity comes from what we’re doing in the mean time.
We combine wonder with worry and ask questions like:
These kinds of questions aren’t new. When the Lord led His people out of Egypt toward the Promised Land, instead of entering Canaan from the south (the short route), God led them east around Edom.
As a result, the people “became impatient because of the journey” (Numbers 21:1-5).
Why take the long way around? The extra miles seemed pointless.
But as the passage unfolds, we read how God gave Israel victories all up and down the King’s Highway so that they ultimately gained control of the majority of Transjordan. This allowed them to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land at a location far more strategic than from the south.
The long way ended up the best way after all.
Coming to Terms with the Unknown
Often, it seems as if God needlessly extends our journey.
- For years we pray for a loved one’s health, a friend’s salvation, or for a missionary to receive funds.
- We plug away endlessly at a miserable job with no promotion.
- The long way seems the wrong way and, like the Hebrews, we become impatient because of the journey.
Yet when we look back in hindsight, we actually come to appreciate how God used the journey—and all the victories and failures along the way—to prepare us for something we felt ready for much earlier.
But we weren’t. Knowing God’s will wasn’t the problem.
“So many of us are impatient with our faith. The journey we are invited to undertake is a long haul and delivers its benefits in the longer term. We have got to learn the hardest of all lessons—that we need to be patient.” —Alister McGrath
Doesn’t God receive more glory from our lives as we trust Him along the path of the unknown, rather than if we see His purposes from the start?
If Google Maps did help us in knowing God’s will, we would look for an alternate route.
Thankfully, although we strain to see over the next horizon, God sees the map from above—and so He knows the best way to proceed.
Question: When have you had to wait for something only to discover that God’s will was best after all? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Adapted from Wayne Stiles, Going Places with God: A Devotional Journey Through the Lands of the Bible (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2006), p. 89.