Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are lazy, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always purse what is good for one another and for all. Rejoice always. Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:13-18
I can’t think about being a part of God’s plan without running into the concept of “God’s Will.” I capitalized that on purpose, because so many Christians, including myself, tend to capitalize it in our hearts. Surely, we think, God has a plan for me, a specific plan, so I need to spend lots of time worrying and praying over which college to attend, which person to marry, which job to take. If I don’t get it right, I might be out of “God’s Will.”
But I’m not sure it works that way. He pretty clearly lays out His Will right in these verses:
- Be at peace among yourselves
- Warn the lazy.
- Comfort the discouraged.
- Help the weak.
- Be patient with everyone.
- Don’t pay back evil with evil.
- Pursue what is good for one another.
- Rejoice always.
- Pray constantly.
- Give thanks in everything.
Nowhere in there does he say I’ve got to pick the “right” spouse or job or country in which to live. But rather, wherever I live, wherever I work, I need to treat others around me in these ways.
And if I do, I am joining God in His plan. When I choose not to repay an evil, I am showing my offender God’s grace – undoubtedly His will for my life and the life of the guy who did me wrong. When I am patient with my children, I am joining God in his plan to rear them to adore a patient God. When I comfort a weeping friend, when I help a struggling student, when I make decisions with others in mind instead of just my own gain – I am following God’s will, joining in his plan. Who else will comfort that woman if I do not? It is God’s Will that she be comforted.
The other stuff, the big, life-changing decisions, well, if God has an opinion on those, He’ll certainly let me know. Sometimes, He does. But if He doesn’t speak from Heaven, I think I can exercise my right as a daughter of the King. Sometimes, a princess gets to pick whatever she likes best, as long as the choice doesn’t go outside of God’s boundaries found in His Bible.
It’s living in the aftermath of those choices that show whether I am truly following God’s will. In this job, the one I chose, will I treat my coworkers compassionately? With this husband, the one I chose, will I put his needs before my own?
Father, may I join you in your plan today, right where I am at. Show me Your Will.