The River of God's Will
By Gene Markland
CBN Staff Writer
-- Do you ever wonder where you stand in the will of God? Every day we make decisions concerning our life, and in many cases, the lives of our family. How do we know we are making the right decisions? What about the consequences if we are wrong? How can we know we are right?
A bad decision at the wrong time could have an earth shattering effect on our lives, and the lives of those close to us, if we are wrong.
The Bible tells us,
“All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.” (Isaiah 53:6 NLT)
However, we know that a correct decision can culminate in a cascade of blessings for our family and us. I was an 18-year-old Air Force Airman stationed far from home for the first time when I first seriously sought God’s will for my life. My high school sweetheart was awaiting my return as we had plans to marry. We both wanted God’s will in our life, not wanting to make a mistake that could end in divorce.
So on one hot Texas Sunday morning, I knelt in an altar and submitted my will to God’s will. I placed our plans in God’s hands and with a sincere heart asked His will in our lives. I told God that if He had other plans for our lives, or even wanted me to remain single and become a missionary, I would do it. I found out later, that at the same time, she was in the altar at our home church back in Virginia, asking God the same thing. We both submitted our wills to God, and He let us know that our marriage was His will. Thirty-six years later, we’re still blessed by staying in the center of His will.
It is imperative that we find God’s will in our life, for His will is actually what’s best for us.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)
Being in the will of God is like being in the center of a fast flowing river.
In the center of the river the flow is strongest and fastest. The further away from the center of the river you drift, the slower and less directed the flow. You’re still in the flow, but it’s not as strong or sure.
In the center of God’s will, His guidance is strongest and most sure. But the further away from the center of God’s will you drift, the slower you move, and the guidance, direction, and protection you would have received from Him is weaker and less effective, almost indiscernible. You move from His perfect will into His permissive will, and then out of His will altogether.
Wading to the edge of the river, you eventually step out and find yourself on the shore of your pride and independence, and the river flows on without you. Likewise, stepping out of God’s will, you are on your own, left to your own devices as the will of God moves on without you. Out of the river, you try to make your way, but it’s more difficult to move forward, because there are obstacles.
You try to move parallel to the river, keeping it in sight, but there are obstacles in the path, forcing movement around them. This causes you to travel in a different direction than the river, which is now so far away that it can’t even be seen. Trying to serve or even follow God when you are out of His will becomes frustrating because of the obstacles that force movement further away from God’s plan for your life. Bad relationships, wrong career choice, poor health, lack of education, and finances are only some of the wrong roads on which you might find yourself. Subsequently, your life ends up on a wrong path or stuck at a dead end going nowhere.
My old friend decided one day to wade out from the center of the river of God’s will. He found himself interested in another woman as he waded to the edge of the river. Then he stepped out of the river of God’s will and left his wife and family. He wandered about for many months until he came to his senses and decided to return. He came back to the river, saw his place, and dove in. He swam back into the center of God’s will, returning to his family, his church, and his God. And there he remains to this day.
Now, you could make your way back to where you left the river of God’s will, try to re-enter, and find the place that was originally meant for you, but that’s not always practical. Maybe your spot in the river has already moved on, or your place was filled with another.
Do not despair! There is another place for you in the river. God’s will and plan for your life yet waits! Make your way directly to the river of God’s will at whichever point along life’s journey you now find yourself.
Get back in the river. Wade out from the shore and into the flow. Don’t be satisfied with an ankle deep, knee deep, or waist deep place in the river of God’s will.
Remember God’s Word,
“Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Revelation 22:1 NLT)
Abandon yourself, head over heels, to the center of the river where the flow is strongest and most sure, flowing in the will of God.
Gene is a Partner Services Representative at CBN, has been in active ministry for more than thirty years. He resides in Virginia Beach with his wife Martha and daughter Laura.
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