Theology

discovering the will of God

signposts

The bell rang, and I heaved a sigh of relief. My first day of attending classes was over, and I hadn’t made any major mistakes. Maybe being in a classroom won’t be as hard as I thought, and, feeling brave, I turned to look at the young man I’d recognized from auditions earlier in the week. We were in the same program, and he seemed nice– in a sudden fit I asked if he’d like to come to dinner with some of my friends.

I was shocked at myself. I’d just asked a guy to dinner. After I’d just officially met him an hour ago. After not even being on campus for a week. Samantha what were you thinking but I managed to keep a pleasant expression plastered on my face. He thought about my invitation for a second, then said “sure, where and when?”

“6 at the Four Winds? Meet outside?”

He nodded, then we gathered up our bags and left.

At dinner that night, as we introduced each other and made small talk, I realized that one of the “getting to know you” questions spelled trouble for me. Hometown, major, age– I had all those covered. But I quickly learned to dread the “so how did you know God wanted you to come to PCC” question.

I didn’t have an answer. At least, not an answer that I could give.

~~~~~~~~~~

I started thinking about where I might want to go to college when I was a sophomore in high school, and at the time, I thought I only had three options. All through high school, I only ever really considered three schools: Patrick Henry College, Bob Jones University, and Pensacola Christian College. I’m not sure exactly why I never bothered looking into other schools like Maranatha or Cedarville or Liberty, but it probably had something to do with me thinking that they were all too liberal. Considering the response I got from my fundamentalist friends when I announced I was going to Liberty, it was probably the “liberal” thing.

The summer after my sophomore year I went to PCC’s “Summer Music Academy,” and I absolutely loved it. The environment was much more lax than what I’d grown up with, and I loved the music faculty.

When it finally came time for me to start applying to colleges, I took a more careful look at BJU and PHC– talked to people who’d gone to each, got their informational packets . . . but, in the end, I realized that attending PCC would mean that I would be closer to home, it was cheaper, and because I was already familiar with the campus and how the school operated I figured I wouldn’t be as nervous. Also, I’d made a lot of friends at the summer program who were going, and that seemed like a huge plus. So, I sent out one application. In the fall, I packed my bags, made the one-hour drive to Pensacola, and never really looked back.

However, when I started staring down the question how did the Lord reveal his Will to you? over and over and over again . . . I started wondering if I’d made a mistake. There was entire sermons and chapel services to the concept of “discovering the will of God for your life,” and some of the people around me were agonizing over decisions that I had never thought needed to be agonized over.

How did you to decide to be a music major? Uhm . . . I like playing the piano? (Corollary: it was a degree a woman was allowed to get.)

Did the Lord call you to education? Not exactly. I just don’t like the classes I’d have to take if I were in the ministry major, and the performance major was too much work.

And, the biggie: do you know what the Lord’s plan is for your life? No. Idea.

I’d decided which college I was going to go to based purely on practical, real-life considerations. I had friends there. It was close to home. I liked the faculty. And while those would probably be considered “normal” reasons to non-fundamentalists, they certainly were not the reasons I was supposed to have. I was supposed to feel “called” to PCC. I was supposed to have “guidance from the Lord” when I picked a school. I was supposed to just know that this is where God wanted me.

After about a month of hearing all of that, I called bullshit.

I believe that many of the people I spoke to honestly, genuinely believed that God had led them to PCC. I also believe that there were probably just as many people who were puffing up their stories with “spirituality” in order to get some bizarre version of Christian brownie points.

I ran into the same idea again in my senior year– only this time it was graduate school, and my process was similar: I wanted to study English and I needed a school that would accept my credits so I wouldn’t have to start over. Liberty was the only school I found that had an MA program that I knew wouldn’t be a nightmare to try to get into.

When I announced that decision to friends, though, nearly everyone told me that they would be “praying” that I would “find God’s true will” for my life. To them, there was no possible way that Liberty University could be what God wanted, and that’s when it hit me:

It wasn’t really about God’s will. Not really.

“Being in the center of God’s will” actually amounted to doing what your fundamentalist community approves of. Pensacola was one of the few viable options available for most of the people I went to college with, which almost automatically made it “God’s will” for a lot of them. However, when you’re inside that framework, there’s no real way to separate “God’s will” from “what fundamentalism allows.” They are taught to us as being the same thing. Fundamentalism allows this because it’s God’s will. So the second I stepped outside of fundamentalism and went to the-still-conservative-but-not-fundamentalist Liberty, I was viewed as needing to be “brought back.” I was straying away from God, backsliding, ignoring Him to pursue what I wanted instead of what He wants.

This mentality trickles down into everything– it’s God’s will for women to be in subjection to men. It’s God’s will for women to be modest. It’s God’s will for us to be keepers at home. It’s God’s will for women to be silent in church.

In the end, discovering God’s will becomes follow all the rules.

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  • *Liberty* could be considered insufficiently conservative?

    I can hardly wrap my head around that statement.

    • I know, right?

      Once I’d been in the program a little while, though, I understood why. My graduate professors did things like encouraging us to research Marxist theory and talked about concepts like gender identity and the arbitrary nature of language . . . all things that are EVIL at PCC.

      • “Liberal” is sort of the main bogeyman amongst conservative/fundie types. Fundamentalism/Conservative Evangelicalism seems like such a monolithic tribe from the outside, but from the inside, we subdivide ourselves into bands which often only barely tolerate each other. I mean … we acknowledge that the other bands at least aren’t atheists, and secularists, and evolutionists, and satanic baby killers, etc., like true liberals. Some tiny point of doctrine or shading of outlook that separates our really real true christian band from the other wrong ones is generally chalked up to good intentions but some sort of slightly liberal taint.

        By we, I mean they, now. Hard to not personalize and/or get the tenses wrong sometimes.

        • Oops … that was meant to be a reply Trevor, not you, forged. Preaching to the choir.

        • Elmo

          It doesn’t help that the word “liberal” has been turned into a political epithet used to describe anyone who disagrees with those who consider themselves to be conservative even when reactionary is probably a better description.

      • That’s standard lit theory. I went to a Christian university, and we still studied all that. Any university that avoids that is not a real university and should not be accredited.

        • I didn’t learn any form of literary theory at all. None.

          • Well I wouldn’t expect a teacher to pull out Terry Eagleton, Kant, Adorno, or Derrida in a freshman core class. (You majored in music, right?)

          • Second teaching field was English. There are no theory classes, and none of the senior-level literature classes I took even mentioned any kind of theory.

    • I know, right? But I used to think the same thing (although I’ve changed quite a bit over the last few years). However, when I told a friend last week that in high school we all considered Liberty ‘liberal,’ her response was to ask me how I turned out so normal. 😀

    • Alice

      Seriously. From the several classes I took there as a high school student, and from reading “The Unlikely Disciple” they seemed very fundie to me.

  • Very good story and read! Reminds me of the things I had heard from people who went to Southeastern Bible college back in the 1990’s. It is not called Southeastern University.
    I had a friend who wanted me to go to Florida Bible College in Poinciana once. Very Conservative and men had to wear a tie until noon. I found that to be ridiculous and therefore I didn’t go.

    You should elaborate more on what the Will of God is or maybe how one may come to understand the Will of God in an individual’s life and if that is not possible you should explain why you think it is not possible.

    I it is very easy to use examples of very conservative fundamentalists to make fun of them and their ways and how some, maybe many, are senseless or are driven more by Conservatism then they are of God. It is another thing to teach about knowing the Will of God for an individual.

    Good for you on this post!

    • And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life (John 6:40).

  • “Being in the center of God’s will” actually amounted to doing what your fundamentalist community approves of.”

    It’s interesting that even if you declare that you are certain something is God’s will for you, it does not impress fellow fundamentalists if it deviates from they expect. They will try to dissuade you.

    • I think this is because they believe that somehow to “truly” be God’s will, it needs to be confirmed by others…the others being your fellow fundamentalists, of course. It is inconceivable to them that God could actually have different wills for different people.

  • Bob n PA

    I like this post, because you are scratching the surface, of being a human that’s been mistreated. Dig a little deaper and you’ll find its Saul / Paul’s will that you are being directed to follow, not God’s, not Jesus’s, not even the Holy Ghosts, but a man who fell off his high horse, hit his head on a rock and started hearing voices (if someone did that today would we follow what they say or commit them to be a ward of the state). I’m a berieved father, I lost my 17 year old son 2 years ago in a car accident. Since the accident I’ve learned it’s not God’s will as to why “things” good and bad happen, but more of our own choices and our own will. I was told it was God’s will that my son died, right after the accident, I wanted to kill the messanger, but instead I let them live, not because of God’s will, but because I wouldn’t put someone’s parents through what I just went through. Following Jesus’s sermon on the mount, or sermon on the plain, and the 10 commandments, is God’s will. How we treat the children of God and how the children of God treat us is all we are judged on nothing more nothing less. Peace be with you in your continuing struggle

  • I have felt a “calling” from God MAYBE three or four times in my life. And each of those times I termed it that because the opportunity kind of showed up out of nowhere, suddenly became the ONLY THING I was interested in in my life, and then worked out exactly, with all the obstacles mysteriously clearing the way for me. For someone who is super analytical and makes most of her decisions based on logically reasoning through things, these few out-of-the-box instances were unusual enough — I just suddenly KNEW with an unquestioning certainty that I was supposed to go to a specific school, even if I couldn’t say why — that I decided I was comfortable deeming it some kind of calling from God.

    Interestingly, I did NOT feel “called” to marry my husband. That freaked somebody out once when I told them. But I did that because a) it seemed like a smart idea rationally and b) I wanted to. I have plenty of fundamentalist friends who are uncomfortable with making big decisions like that, but if I waited to feel “called” until I did something, I’d very rarely have done anything in my life.

    • Lukewarm Laodicea

      Hey! I married my husband because I wanted to too! (And not because I thought I needed to be a wife/mother to make God happy with me)
      It’s kinda sad that it’s even a discussion point, but all of those sermons and classes “is that *really* God’s will?”
      Or His *best* will for you?
      That one always confused me…
      How can God have a good, better and best will for you?

      • That reminds me of one my parents’ favorite lines of thought… “This might be okay, or even good, but is it what’s BEST?” Eg., listening to music without swear words is okay, but shouldn’t you be listening to some uplifting praise & worship music instead? Or, having a secular career might be okay, but dedicating yourself to the Lord’s work is what’s best!

        It added a layer of guilt to every decision: it wasn’t good enough just not to do something wrong, you had to make sure anything you did was the absolute best thing possible!

  • Haha yes… I totally understand. For me, “God’s will” is “what my mother thinks I should do. 🙂 Mom is really conservative, of course.

    You know, if God really does care about what we do with our lives, if he really does have a plan for us (which I kinda doubt), then I think he will open the doors he wants us to go through. If God really didn’t want you to go to PCC, then you wouldn’t have gone. Maybe he wanted you to go to PCC so you would start questioning fundamentalism. Who knows? (Hehe, God does.) Of course, this is all assuming that God had anything to do with where you went to college. 😀

  • I don’t want to make fun, but to ask why do people stick with this crap? I’d say that we all need some structure, guidelines, rules, etc. at first (See the concept of spiritual growth in the work of Jim Fowler and M. Scott Peck–talk about two far from fundamentalism!). Peck has 4 stages: 1) paganism, unsaved, lost would describe it; 2) conversion to a religion of structure, rules, etc. 3) period of skepticism but searching–the fundamentalist way really doesn’t cut it the “answers” really don’t help or even make sense; 4) a time of maturing and deepening faith in God. (This simplifies greatly, but I hope that you get the drift).

    Peck looks at Psalm 111’s statement: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Those in a more fundamentalist state (2) see that as saying in effect, obey the rules, be submissive, don’t question, beware of the consequences of sin. Peck says that there is truth here. When we sin, get outside of God’s rules, etc., we face the consequences of sin. But, if we persist in the search for truth, we will move to (3), most likely drifting away from church, especially the church of our parents. Yet, if we keep on, we reach a new level of faith. Now, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” is more like, “Wow, look how awesome God really is, look at this world and all that God has for us, look at the joy of the faith, etc.

    I see churches really growing that push (2), but fearing the move to (3), and calling (4) liberals or worse. People at (4) need to be aware of looking with contempt on those in (2), which is really a necessary stage, but not the end. In fact, we can never stop growing as we open ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and our communities of faith/churches.

  • srs

    I remember hearing during the last decade that after a certain big budget fantasy movie came out, the number of prospective overseas missionaries who felt “called” to serve in New Zealand jumped quite a bit.

    (so it’s not always fundamentalist culture 🙂 )

  • Emily

    This post makes me laugh, because I go to a Christian college concerned with God’s will, and people here (including me sometimes) just rephrase stuff to make it sound like something’s God’s will or you’re being ‘godly’ in a certain decision. Therefore instead of someone saying they look forward to a trip overseas because they love travelling, they’d say ‘God has put a love for other nations upon my heart.’ or something to that extent. When I became a feminist, I used this kinda thing, and most people were excited for my newly revived love for the Lord…until they saw what that meant.

  • This is such a good statement. I guess I never could have made the point that clear. You really helped me with this, Samantha. Thank you!

  • Momma Tee

    “I also believe that there were probably just as many people who were puffing up their stories with “spirituality” in order to get some bizarre version of Christian brownie points”. I don’t think fundamentalists have the monopoly on this particular idea. There are a lot of people who do this because they think they should or they don’t want to admit that they just don’t know. People often attribute things that are unexplainable to being God’s will, and in doing so mislead others and misrepresent God. I do believe in the will of God because I want to be in it. What I have found for me, is that the will of God has more to do with how I love others and how I honor God rather than what circumstances I am in. I could live here or there, work this place or that, vote republican or democrat, but I could still be smack dab in the middle of the will of God either place.

  • I have come to the point that I feel God has a dream and I try to fulfill that dream by making decisions that advance it and by living in that way. I don’t sweat the small stuff and I don’t think God really cares about all that stuff. I think it is paralyzing to be consumed in this way. God is one of us! He/She has a will and so do we! Hopefully we are moving in the same direction. If not, we will try a little harder tomorrow…or not. Just live and enjoy and breath.
    http://jimrogersorg.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/enjoy-the-ride/

  • I still have no real idea if I’m personally following God’s will, if I even believe that God has a specific “plan” in mind for each and every person.

  • Lukewarm Laodicea

    “Being in the center of God’s will” actually amounted to doing what your fundamentalist community approves of.

    Oh my goodness, this.
    A thousand times this.

  • I’ve been on the flip side of the coin, where doing what I believed to be God’s will was in complete opposition to the fundamentalist perspective. I attended a secular, public college truly convinced that God wanted me to be there. It turned out to be a better option than all the local Christian colleges, which appeared to have serious party issues.

  • Gram Pol

    I don’t mean to overlook the excellent points you make in the article about what is really “God’s will” but ever since I read Kevin Roose’s “The Unlikely Disciple” I’ve been dying to ask someone who actually went to PCC: is it true that you can be given demerits if you get caught gazing into the eyes of a member of the opposite sex for too long? (And is that really referred to as “making eye babies”?) It sounds too far-fetched to be real but that’s been my reaction to a lot of stuff I’ve heard about extreme fundamentalist Christian institutes.

    Apologies for being so trivial!

  • Wow. I am seeing myself a bit in that. I ended up in Bill Gothard’s law school because, well, it was available, and at the time, going to a regular college – even PCC – would have given my parents grief. (Thankfully, later, they left, and my sister got to go to a regular state college.)

    I considered PCC for a while, and my siblings actually got to go to the Summer Music Institute you describe.

    I guess on the plus side, I do feel that even with all this unpromising beginning, God made it turn out as a positive. I’m just going to have to go with that, because I really can’t say that I am in a bad career or that my education didn’t further that.

    But I do think that you are spot on that we tend to find “God’s will” in what most fits with the circles we run in. I tend to believe (now) that God doesn’t care that much what we choose on these issues, but good grief, do we pay at the time for a “wrong” choice with friends and family.

  • I often ask my friends the very question, “how do you know what you are doing / choosing, is God’s will?” It often seems to me their will and God’s will aligns far to perfectly. Their answers are always interesting.

    On the flip side, I do think we can be led to what is best for us and our future, even unwittingly and without flashing lights. I do think, even our errors and pain guide us through to who we ultimately become. Whether this is God, or otherwise, I think when we open our hearts we allow our spirit to flourish.

  • Lee

    You have said a lot of very true things here, but also may have overcorrected the steering a bit. You will be hard pressed to find ANY religious institution today that is sound in their beliefs but placing our eyes on this fact causes us to take our eyes off the ball. If we learn anything from the Bible it is that 1) God is good 2) we are not 3) we come to Him in spite of this. “Christ died for the ungodly”, that’s me and that’s you, but this is hard for mankind to accept so we go about either either denying that God is good or building forms of religion to pretend we are good.

    Most people cannot conceive that Abraham’s attempted murder of Isaac or Rahab’s lie were great displays of faith, and that if done in the church would bring much scorn.

    Full disclosure: God forbid me attending any Bible college for many clear reasons, but issue number one was that rather than helping me to know God better, they would muddy the waters….

    • I would take those three steps in a slightly different direction: 1) God is good, 2) we are not, 3) God comes to us in spite of this.

      • Lee

        Possibly, but God coming to us in spite of this, is a part of His goodness! Our response to that goodness despite our own evilness is what I was aiming at. Interworkings of how that response arrives have been argued til death 🙂

      • Bob in PA

        I agreed with that “God is good, and we are not, and God comes to us in spite of this”, until my teenage son was killed in a car crash trying to swerve to keep from hitting a deer. If I say God is good, then God willed my son to die (not so good), if I say God had no part in it then its free will, and my son is making his family suffer (number 2), and that goes against the first commandment, of honor thy parents. So as not to blame me son’s death on God, because we know God is good, and not to cast my son into hell, because he broke a commandment (we are bad), I’ll say God is absent to our presence, God listens but Adam and Eve, tied Gods’ hands to interfere. Samantha, makes a great point even though she really only dipped her toe into this debate, because that’s her experience. What Christ tore down the apostle Paul re-built, much to Samantha’s dismay? In the end at death it comes down to the relationships we made during life, and the board at PCC, has made their relationships with the woman on campus. If someone was to treat my daughter as Samantha was treated they would have a black eye and regrets for treating her like that. So as a man of the cloth what say you? PCU or Samatha, who’s human?

        • Lee

          “So as not to blame me son’s death on God, because we know God is good, and not to cast my son into hell, because he broke a commandment (we are bad), I’ll say God is absent to our presence”

          Not at all trying to turn this into a trite matter, but dying is easy, it’s living that is hard. If God rescued your son early from this present evil world by taking him home to the mansion prepared for him then He did good; and if your son was only to live his life to fill his cup of iniquity to the full but was taken out before he would be eternally responsible for so much more, even though it can be hard to swallow this also is good. The Christian has hope in death unlike any other, which is why Abraham was prepared to slay his own son, because he was assured that God would raise him from the dead! Death has been overcome we are no longer subject to bondage through fear of it for we have been delivered! And just so you know, my life has not been without tragedy….

          Dying while breaking a commandment though absolutely is not what sends one to hell, only one thing sends mankind to hell, unbelief! John 3:36… So please don’t think that if your son or whomever dies while sinning that all hope is lost. Solomon CLEARLY was a son of God and will be in heaven!

          • Bob n PA

            Lee,dying is easy? I’ll give you a challange so you can see how easy it is, if your married and have children, number them 1 to x and toss the numbers in a jar swish them around and have your wife hold the jar as you pick a number (for heaven sakes do not tell your wife what you are doing). Open the paper and look at the number and take the corresponding child to a mall and set said child on a bench and walk away, never to see the child again. Go home to your loving wife and tell her it was easy and your child is being rescued by such a loving God. And may God have mercy on your soul because I’m sure your wife will not. Dying is so easy from that perspective, when you loose a child to God, watch out for that frying pan. BTW God is a berieved parent, he lost his son to suicide, (and that brings a whole new perspective to play. There are alot of souls,full of faith and have a fear of God in Hell, James 2:14-26. PCC maybe full of Faith, though Paul’s eyes (and he was a wise man, no doubt), but their(PCC) good works are lacking in Samanthas eyes

          • Lee

            “take the corresponding child to a mall and set said child on a bench and walk away, never to see the child again. Go home to your loving wife and tell her it was easy and your child is being rescued by such a loving God.”

            Interestingly enough Bob tough as it was, I did pretty much that exact thing, and God rescued her from herself… and brought her back as though raised from the dead!

            Sometimes you just have to trust Him. 🙂

        • Lee

          “What Christ tore down the apostle Paul re-built, much to Samantha’s dismay?”

          Interestingly enough, Christ never preached the gospel, but He sure did show people their need of it! It seems to me that Samantha’s dismay comes from the mis-application of these truths. These truths are for each of us to learn directly through experience rather than have them hammered in to us and everyone nod their head in unison. If we really want to discover God’s will we have to trust Him simply. If all we can grasp are the thou shalt nots and the thou shalts, then we might as well be muslims. But there are some strange and seemingly convoluted things in the Bible to cause us to go beyond reason into faith…

          • Bob n PA

            True the resurrected Christ never preached, but Jesus as a living and breathing Jew did. Matt 5-7, (Sermon on the mount) and Luke 6:20-49 (sermon on the plain). Jesus went outside of the temple and preached, and on these words the 10 commandments are hung, tearing down the Mosaic law, given to people for all to hear, not written in stone, or read by purified scribes, but heard by the salt of the earth, you me Samantha, and everyone else. Adam and Eve didn’t seek truths they wanted knowledge, knowledge of life and death, and that is what they received, is there any other animal that knows it can create life or that its going to die? Name me one animal outside of humans that understand this. You mention Abraham as a Christian, no he is a Jew, like Jesus. Father to the Jewish Faith, Christen Faith, and Muslim Faith. You mentioned the Muslims as being head nods to thou shall and shall not, don’t make that mistake again (that attitude is ignorant and arrogant and reeks of the apostle Paul when he was known as Saul)If Judas hadn’t been strong enough to turn Jesus over to the Sanhedrin then Saul would have been the second choice, and that would have just left Muhamad to start the church. And that is what this whole post that Samantha started is about, Attitude. PCC wants to be known as a Christian school, but they are known by their actions. Some Christians? Sounds like the American Taliban to me.

          • Lee

            Bob, Matt 5-7 is not the gospel, it is preaching that shows us our need of the gospel by pushing the law to its extents. The gospel plain as it is is described in 1 Cor 15:3-4. The gospel is the news that Christ has died for our sins according to the scriptures and was raised again to give us full assurance that our sin debt has been paid in full.

            Christ said what He was going to do but the gospel is the good news of the accomplished deed completed for us!

            I would post a link but since we can’t, just do a search on “Ironside what is the gospel” for some good info on the topic.

          • I think you’re going to get a completely different answer to “what is the gospel?” based on which book of the Bible you’re reading at the moment.

          • Lee

            Really is what Samantha is though the gospel is in plain sight “the gospel is hid them that are perishing”
            This makes it very hard to see until we come to the end of ourselves, but it is very simple and is hidden in plain sight, covered by the hardness of our own hearts.

          • Unless you’re a libertarian free will, pelagianist like me and then “hard heart” means something completely different.

          • Lee

            What does it mean to you then?

          • Bob n PA

            Pelagius, 5th century teacher in Rome, said a person is capable of choosing God (through free will and as rational thought as a person is capable of), and to do good or bad without the aid of Devine intervention. Grace is just an gift in helping people come to God. When we are born into this world we know not of evil, just ask you mother, were you evil when she carried you? And did you become evil the moment you were born? I’ll answer for you because the answer is no and the answer is no for every other person in this world, you were not evil. This simple statement was / is condemned / considered heresy though out Church history for denying the doctrine of original sin. My point earlier Adam and Eve, didn’t sin they became aware of life and death, BTW you never answered the question I posed, which animal knows of their own impending death, or that they have the ability to create life besides humans? Samantha, have you read “When Bad thing happen to Good People” by Harold Kushner? The book follows very closely to what you brought up, and I’ve found the Pelagius teaching common among the bereaved parents in my support group (how I found out about Kushner’s book.) I may not agree with everything Rabbi Kushner says because grief is different for everyone but we have much in common, and he does make a very strong argument for what you pointed out.

          • Lee

            Muslims know not God by their own declaration, “Allah cannot be known” and so are driven by fear. All they know are some of what they think they must do and must not do, very much like most of the visible church. The IFB cult that Samantha describes will have a lot of the fear based drivers that Islam has which is why I made the comparison.

            Unfortunately the reality is that the same damnation that they are so cognizant of and dominate/subjugate by fear with, awaits both.

          • You are generalizing about Islamic faith. Please be careful that you don’t take this further- islamaphobia is against my comment policy.

  • Lee

    I must say though, excellent topic! Discovering God’s will is just like learning how to walk, we fall down, get bruised, even cry many a time, but being determined to walk (and being helped along) we keep standing up and eventually it becomes natural. At that point we don’t wake up each day wondering if we can walk.

    It would be very hard to learn how to walk though if we never got out of the crib. Likewise, we can not discover God’s will for us through another, but only by direct communication with Him.

  • I was a Southern Baptist, and that idea of “finding the will of God” was behind every decision for me, too. I’m still not sure what exactly “the will of God” was–some mixture of guilt and meeting all the expectations of that community, I guess. It made it VERY difficult to make decisions based on any sort of practical considerations. For me, I just assumed that I would go to one of the SBC colleges in my state and never considered anything else. As for my major, I was interested in both piano and computer science in high school, but I choose piano because it was more familiar and suitable for a woman, as teaching part-time piano lessons would fit my future stay-at-home mom schedule and I could also play in church. No one ever mentioned the possibility of a regular career and which major would be more suitable for that. While there were some positives to my decision at the time, I can’t play piano anymore, I’m not a mom, I don’t attend church, and I’m pursuing a career in another field–so that degree sure isn’t helping me out.

    My family still mentions “the will of God” in regards to every major decision….but what they really mean is something quite different. Thanks for your insight on that.

    • Lee

      “I don’t attend church”

      Great me too, and neither does Christ! On the whole He has been pretty much kicked out, so I joined him there on the outside well over 10 years ago now. Christ is very real and I figured rather than following the visible church to hell and since it was my soul on the line I should get to know Him myself without all their smokescreens. He honoured that desire.

      Christ alone can save us but beware of church!!!

      The answer to discovering God’s will for our lives is to head into that which causes us to personally know Him better. Normally it is not as simple as Fruit Loops vs Cheerios kind of decisions, but if that is where I must start then onward ho!

      All I can plead is please don’t give up on Christ because of your experiences with church and the churched!

  • Wow I can relate to this. I’m an American who lives in China- and when I first wanted to move here, years ago, I prayed and prayed asking God to “call me” or something, because I thought we’re not allowed to do something so big and strange without a special invitation from God.

    God never MADE me move to China. I did it because I wanted to. I really like China- and I guess God has something to do with that, but it’s certainly not the “calling” like I always imagined.

    Same thing when I started dating a guy a few years ago. I prayed and prayed and never got an answer from God, so I just made the decision myself, because he was a great guy and I didn’t want to miss that chance.

    Crazy, huh? 🙂

  • ^ I thought the video above was very interesting. It seems to tie together a lot of things that were perhaps missing … much of the teachings in the new testament are also in the essene teachings. I left classical Christianity – but I experienced REAL miracles while a Christian, so I am looking for the truth about Christianity. It cant be what we have been taught. I made the mistake of reading the Skeptics Bible – ouch.