God's Word clearly indicates that He is willing to give guidance to His children in both the big and the small areas of life (Psalm 32:8; 37:5, 7, 23; Proverbs 3:5-6). Then they crossed their arms over their chests before spinning down and disappearing into the water with a splash. What He requires of us and what pleases Him. Lawyers to hire. Trust God’s love . “I ask you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all speak in agreement and that there be no divisions among you. Amazingly, Dana said it for me, “So, do you want to adopt her?”. Jesus said that His true relations are those who know and do the Father’s will: “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” ( Mark 3:35 ). Three years later, our son, Judah, was born. The pathway to knowing the will of God is found in loving imitation of the Lord who laid down His life for His friends. First, I suggest that you give yourself to the word of God. A whirlwind trip to plan to East Africa. Meadow Rue Merrill is an award-winning journalist and the author of the memoir, “Redeeming Ruth: Everything Life Takes, Love Restores,” which releases with Hendrickson Publishers in May 2017. Believe He will guide you. Maybe you’ve faced a similar predicament. Ruth’s head rolled forward and back, forward and back. SURRENDER--Am I committed to doing God’s will in this situation? That was the decision Dana and I faced after meeting Ruth. More than a year later, as Dana held Ruth in church, I asked Theresa how old she was. While we don’t rely on man’s wisdom alone, God often uses people to increase our wisdom. This was very confusing at first, but after some time I understood what it meant. Don’t say a word. Honor one another above yourselves. An ultrasound later revealed only one baby. The thought of spending the rest of our lives taking care of someone who might never be able to take care of herself scared me. You don’t have to live in fear of His displeasure when you seek His will through these 5 steps. Since neither Dana nor I knew much about cerebral palsy, we talked to our pediatrician. His Circumstantial Will. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we should walk in them,” Ephesians 2:10 says. How to Determine God's Will . Our boys had been coming all week. Trusting God is a free 4-week email-based devotional to help you learn to trust God through the storms of your life. In a previous article, I wrote about Following God Without Hesitation, referencing Joshua 3:3 and what I said there was that 'we need to determine God’s will and “go after” God without hesitation.' Then I saw the baby dangling from his arms. Sometime later, I walked into a friend’s church for the last night of Vacation Bible School. Faith is an important component to accepting God’s wisdom. “Ruth only started therapy a couple of weeks ago. His aim is that we be transformed, sanctified, freed by the truth of his revealed word (John 8:32; 17:17). “Want to hold her?” Allen dropped Ruth into Dana’s arms without waiting for a reply. Rather than impulsively leaping forward or fearfully turning back, we took seven crucial steps—one at a time. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Let us study 12 specific, practical steps the Bible gives to show us how to change and improve our selves to become what God wants. Do your plans line up with his? And we almost missed it, all because Ruth wasn’t quite what we expected. 2) God gives us promises to help us better submit to His will and trust Him. Two weeks after graduating from college, I married my high school sweetheart, Dana. iStudyEBS is a division of Explorer’s Bible Study. 1) God’s promises are often conditional. A sudden urge to protect her overwhelmed me. As we spent time with Ruth, we carefully observed our children’s reactions. I knew they were yours.”. No matter what decision you are facing or what obstacles stand in your path, these seven steps will help you discern God’s will in difficult situations. I had been praying and dreaming of this moment for decades, but not once had I imagined adopting a child with disabilities. When we seek God's direction for specific answers to particular situations, we need to ask ourselves if we are surrendered to God's will and if the answer lines up with His Word or if it seems more in line with our own desires. That long prayed for job or ministry opportunity lacks the outcome you imagined. 7 Steps to Discerning God’s Will in Difficult Situations, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. I learned that I can know how I should be living by reading God’s Word, discovering what pleases Him and what He desires from me, and then simply living it out. God’s Desired Will. “You remember, honey?”. The confirmation of God’s Word Submitting to God’s will challenged us in ways we never expected and opened our hearts to other children with disabilities. He has a general and specific … Over the years we’d been married, Dana and I had often talked of adoption. Any indepth bible study, such as iStudy, will open His Will up for you to learn and follow. Two weeks after Lydia’s. Ruth’s head was fringed with a thin scrub of curls. But in a quiet moment alone, I’d offered up this feeble prayer: “Lord, if you want us to adopt, you will have to put it in Dana’s heart too.”. This is the greatest discovery we will ever make – God has a purpose and plan for each human being; past, present, and future. When we fail to live up to God’s standards, He wants us to know how we should respond to these circumstances. Or was His answer just different from our expectations? This covers what the Lord desires us to do today in our current situation. Ask God for His wisdom. lean into His grace and mercy. I also felt called to write, but I had no idea how God would bring these paths together. The most obvious answer to the question, “How can I know God’s will for my life?” is to ask Him. So, I went digging to find verses that might help us know God’s “always” will . God's word is the best source of guidance for self-help and motivation for self-improvement. To discern God’s will, designate a specific period of time to pray. Keep on reading to find out what God has taught me about His Word and how it reveals His general and specific will for man-kind. It struck Dana the same way it struck me. Then my husband and I would adopt. Clearly, adoption is in keeping with God’s desire. “In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”. But be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement,” I Corinthians 1:10 says. . The day we returned from our honeymoon I landed a job as a reporter for a small Maine newspaper. Unless otherwise indicated, all contents are copyright of iStudyEBS. “God is going to give you the desires of your heart,” three separate ministers had told me on three separate occasions, and I believed them. God’s Immediate Will. 3) Do not assume to know precisely when, where, or how God’s promises will be fulfilled in your life. Then proceed to the next step. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Image Credit: ©Thinkstock/mavoimages We also got to know several families with children who had cerebral palsy, asking them their experiences and learning about local programs for children with disabilities. Romans 12:10 You know who they are – the people who lift you up when you are down, who give you energy to move forward, who consistently remind you of God’s will. And Romans 12:2 says, "Be renewed in your mind so that you can prove what is the will of God"—His will, I believe, for you—"what is good, acceptable and perfect." And we talked to adoption agencies and lawyers to find out what steps adopting Ruth would require. “Two girls were diving off a dock into the water,” she’d told me. When facing a decision that doesn’t look the way you expect, take time to reflect on whether this fits your passion and prayers. God has a will for all who know Him personally, which is referred to as specific will of God In every situation, what revelation of God must always take precedence written will of God Tiny fingers curled into her palms, but she was smiling—a lopsided, baby-toothed “Here I am” smile that creased her cheeks and made her dark eyes gleam. What Would the Apostle Paul Say about Wearing Face Masks? Trust God? 4 Ways to Love One Another. God specifies how He wants us to live as Christians. Along the way, God blessed us with a love for Ruth as deep as for our other children. Praying doesn’t have to be complicated. So the second stage of God’s will of command is the discerning application of the Scriptures to new situations in life by means of a renewed mind. “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety,” says Proverbs 11:14. God had planted a love for orphans in my heart from childhood. God’s will is found in the Cross. For Dana and I, the idea of adopting wasn’t out of the blue. They were strong and athletic and very graceful. How can we discern what is truly God’s will for our lives compared to the curve balls that sometimes take us by surprise? For being so weak, Ruth’s happiness was contagious, and we laughed too. Her body was alternately stiff and then limp, as if someone had forgotten to tighten her muscles. All rights reserved. A friend once encouraged my wife and I to take on a certain task. The descriptive Biblical insights aren’t timeless truths for Christians today — though they are valuable for mediation, reflection, and learning about God. Paul explained … Tests that would reveal further disabilities. Before you were even born, God created you with a passion and a purpose, and he will prepare you. Do you ever wonder what Gods specific will is for your life? There are five key questions to ask in order to determine God’s will in a decision-making situation. Judah, six, and Gabriel, four, darted through the packed sanctuary to join their classmates. God’s Will Definition. Many texts in the Bible are specific, concrete, revelatory expressions of broader, universal realities or theological principles. Since the Scriptures provide us to all good works (2 Timothy 3:16,17), they give all the guidance we need. A promise does not make God bend to our will. The Bible expects us to walk in the good works that God has prepared beforehand for us (Ephesians 2:10). That night at church, people squeezed against the pews as Allen made his way up the crowded aisle. But he wasn’t sure we were ready. Learn how your comment data is processed. We welcomed our son, Gabriel, and daughter, Lydia, soon after. All the other steps are pointless if we don’t follow up with action. We sent the teams, recognizing the potential danger. Unknown to my mom, I was pregnant with our third child. I’d go to college, get married, become a writer, and have two boys and a girl—in that order. “They sprang up—way, way up—into the air like Olympic divers. Or trust ourselves? The Gospel of Love "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." The better you and I know God’s general will, the easier it is to determine God’s specific will in particular situations. Does "God's will" only apply to moral decisions or is there a framework or guidelines/advice for identifying what God's will may be? If you’re struggling to trust God in the storms of your life, not sure God can really help with your troubles or don’t know where to even begin, I invite you to join the Trusting God study. Some Bible verses have “timeless truths” that are applicable to Christians today. Look for the word “if” in the context. So, together we prayed, “Lord, if you have another child for us, you will have to bring that child to us.” We wouldn’t pursue it. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} If so, it looked radically different from what I expected. When we spend quiet time with Him it will overflow into all areas of our life. Mine—and now Dana’s—was to rely on the Holy Spirit and walk in faith as we sought to discern that plan. When you and I are making a decision “in the dark,” we also can line up the “runway lights” that assure us our decision is in the center of God’s will. But through it all, we kept walking faith, confident that adopting Ruth was indeed God’s plan. Or perhaps the path you felt God directing you to follow now seems barren and barred by obstacles. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. She was scrawny and limp and dressed in a shapeless pink onesie that sagged where a round tummy and chubby thighs should have stretched it tight. There was money to raise. Or have you ever wondered how you are supposed to determine both God’s general and specific will for you and for others? . Or that wonderful man you felt called to marry left you feeling lonely and disappointed. That part of the puzzle was God’s. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men liberally without criticism, and it will be given to him,” says James 1:5. The better you and I know God’s general will, the easier it is to determine God’s specific will in particular situations. Verse after verse is filled with practical lessons and instructions for daily life. Dana wiggled a finger, holding it out for Ruth to grab. By Dr. Ann Shorb . Turn to God in prayer and ask Him what He wants you to do. The Bible outlines God’s general will for all man-kind. But as we sought to determine God’s will, we felt that the Great Commission overrode his concerns. God faithfully directs his children. Instead, she wrinkled her nose and let out a deep “hee-hee-hee” that stiffened her entire body. Yet here Ruth was, smiling from the cradle of my husband’s arms. For Dana and I, the idea of adopting wasn’t out of the blue. … “Twins?” he mouthed silently. And how do we really know whether we are in step with God’s plan when it appears so different from what we expected? Your job as a Christian is to make decisions according to your desire to please Him —not yourself (Romans 12:2). This modern engineering marvel can carry an amazing amount of weight and strain because of … Questions like, “Should we get a divorce?”, “How should I treat someone who persecutes me?”, and “Is it okay to look at pornographic material?” are all answered through Scripture. While Dana’s experience was different, as soon as he held Ruth, God awakened that love in him in a clear answer to my previous prayer. Early on, I felt drawn to Africa and helping orphans. But my heart was doing flips. In such situations, our choice is to trust God and draw closer to him or to trust ourselves and potentially miss the fullness of his plans and blessings. It is one thing to pray for God’s will to be done in your life, but it is quite another to accept His will. God’s aim is a new mind, a new way of thinking and judging, not just new information. Be devoted to one another in love. Recall what brought you here. God had … “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth,” John 16:13 says, “… He will tell you things that are to come.”, Two years before we met Ruth, God gave my mother a dream in which Dana and I had twin girls. She and Dana are the parents of six children and live in a little house in the big woods of midcoast Maine.You can contact Meadow at meadowrue@twc.com or sign up for her weekly blog, Faith Notes at www.meadowrue.com. Being able to determine God's will in a situation is influenced by our effort to submit to Him and obey Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” Proverbs 3:5-6 says. Copyright © 2021, iBelieve.com. 4. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” So simply ask for God’s help and then… 3. Article Images Copyright © 2021 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. When none did, we took this as God’s leading to spend more time with Ruth and see what caring for her was like. To discern the will of God, analyze your gifts, motives, and desires in light of God’s sovereign purpose of being glorified among the nations. 1. Since leaving our decision to adopt with God, Dana and I hadn’t talked about it. Not once. Towing sixteen month Lydia through the crowd, Dana and I slid into a pew beside my friend Theresa. To adopt Ruth, our family faced numerous hurdles. The following March, we joyously welcomed our daughter, little imagining what God had in store. Dana slid Ruth into my arms. Pray, glorify God, study the Scripture, be willing to wait, and trust God’s … one could Google the question or search the world to know God’s will for your life, your purpose for being but your best option is to spend a little time with God in the Bible and His Truth will open up to you. These might be prayer warriors, ministry leaders, or others with experience in the area about which you are seeking to make a decision. 1. archangel sent by God to Daniel 2. From that familiarity with Jesus’ personality and character, we equip ourselves to recognize what His will is for us in all circumstances. Other Bible verses are descriptive, which means they describe a specific situation, person, or event that happened more than 2,000 years ago. CBN.com--One of the strongest man-made structures in the world is the suspension bridge. Her right eye turned weakly toward her nose. No matter what decision you are facing or what obstacles stand in your path, these seven steps will help you discern God’s will in difficult situations, one step at a time. So when God’s plans differ from what you expect, don’t despair. Co-ed Online Bible Study Groups with couples and singles. 10 Powerful Reasons to Pray Scripture (And How to Start), Here Are 10 Things Selfish People Always Do in Relationships, 10 Ways Satan Wants You to Respond to the Coronavirus. Use God’s word as a guide when seeking God’s purpose. We can find the Cross first of all through loving sacrifice no matter how small or insignificant or hidden from the … “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” Psalm 119:105. In fact, 90 percent of God's will for my life is the same as 90 percent of God's will for your life. God responds to a two word cry for help in the middle of a busy afternoon, just like He does to a focused prayer time after reading Scripture in the morning. Don’t say it, I thought, handing Ruth back to Dana. The will of God (or Divine Will) is the idea that God has a plan for people (Jeremiah 29:11-13). I couldn’t see his face, couldn’t tell what he was thinking. While the specifics of a particular passage may only apply to the particular situation of the biblical audience, the theological principles revealed in that text are applicable to all of God’s people at all times. (Romans 12:1-2) But it's also a matter of practice. 4 Ways COVID-19 Stresses Your Relationships and How to Respond, Why We Need to Look to God after National Calamity, How to Start 2021 Strong in the Midst of Chaos, 7 Prophetic Words God Has for Us about the End Times, 6 Things Every Husband Needs to Know about Emotional Support, 10 Unexpected Reasons for Infidelity in a Marriage, 10 Things Never to Say to Your Adult Children. In summary, God's will can refer to His perfect plan known since the beginning of time, God's teachings for all people, God's specific desires for a community of people, or God's unique plan for our individual lives. Then she was scheduled to return to her orphanage, Welcome Home Africa, unless someone wanted to adopt her. You can be confident that God will make any specific plans He has for you clear. “Fifteen…sixteen months?” Theresa ticked off the numbers on her fingers, looking to Allen. Surprisingly, our children were Ruth’s biggest advocates, always encouraging her and cheering her on. Basing your decisions on just one source of direction can often be risky. While my emotions were all over the place—one moment excited, another moment scared at the possibility of adopting Ruth—God’s Word is unchanging. Yes, we still walked through all the other steps of discernment, but we did so with greater confidence. I was blessed to grow up with a God seeking, Bible-believing, Spirit filled mom who encouraged me to search out God’s plans for my life. Ruth’s head flopped against his shoulder. As you begin walking in faith, the path will become clearer—as will your blessings and the ability to see with greater clarity His hand and guidance through our difficult situations. 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