If we truly believe that God is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and sovereign, then we will trust that our circumstances can show us His will. That is to say, if we believe God is all powerful, all loving, and in control of His creation, then He can and will direct our lives.
However, circumstance alone cannot show us His will. What if we make a bad choice and get involved with some things that God’s Word to us tells us He would never be involved with, is that His will for us? No. Rather, like building blocks in the hands of a toddler, circumstance must be added to the tower of truth we are building, added to what God reveals to us through His Word and through prayer.
Circumstance can be a powerful thing, though. If you are 6’ 4” and 120 kg, you come from a family of international rugby players, love contact sport, your circumstances would suggest that a career as a ballerina or a jockey is not on the cards. If you have a inbuilt innate interest for biochemistry, choosing to study law at university is not for you, is it. Circumstances would suggest your future lies elsewhere.
What is going on around us, if we pay attention, can help to reveal God’s will to us. At each point of my life for the first 20 years, I thought I was making the choices, I was deciding where I would go and what I would do. Deep down I had this desire to pastor, but never really did anything about it. Then, when I let go and asked God to show me what I should be doing and where I should be doing it, circumstances moved in such a way that I could not have chosen, planned, or even dreamed. The combination of the circumstances, His Word, and much prayer (plus the final element we will talk about next time) helped me to see what God wanted me to be doing, and where He wanted me to be doing it. So, how do we do it, how do we look at our circumstances from a God’s-will-finding-perspective? Henry Blackaby offers this;
Ask God to show you His perspective on what is already happening. Look back at your situation through the lens of what you know about God. The Holy Spirit will help you go to the Word and see the truth of the circumstances from God’s perspective. You adjust our lives accordingly, and begin the process again.
Looking back can be so helpful, both physically and spiritually. In Joshua 4 stones are set up as a physical reminder, but we can also look back to times when God has guided us spiritually, the direction we took, the outcome, and this can then help us move forward more certain of His will this time around.
So, if we focus solely on the circumstances, that’s not the entire truth of the situation. Circumstances are important, to be sure, but they are the third piece of the puzzle so far, along with His Word and prayer. Next time, we add the final piece to this – other believers and the church.