Wednesday, February 13, 2008

God doesn't always get what he wants.

I have often heard a phrase used for comfort in times of tragedy or heart ache that I think may be more detrimental than helpful. The phrase that I am referring to tends to go something like this, "It's okay. It was the Lord's will." This phrase on the surface seems to really give relief by setting up the idea that if this incident (no matter how terrible) was God's will, then there is some good in it somewhere and/or he will redeem it. This all seems good because any one who has known God at all knows that he redeems things but the statement that says it was God's will puts these terrible things in the realm of God's desires. Which would mean that a car bombing would be what God desired in his heart to hava down here as it is heaven, then it implies that God's will is not always done down here in flesh land. If what God always wants happens here then why pray for it? In 1 Timothy 2:4 it says (God)"... wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." But elsewhere in the Bible it says clearly that some will not choose God and they will not be saved. Jesus prayed from the garden, "not my will but your will be done" as if he had a choice in the matter.

Now if what I am presenting is true and God does not always get what he wants then, this might leave someone unnerved. This is unnerving because if what God wants is not happening all the time, then at any moment that we find ourselves in tragedy's wake we might be completely be on our own with a God who (at best) may want good us for but is unable to do anything about it or (at worst) be on our own with a God who is able to do something about it but is unwilling. Well don't lose hope because I don't believe that either of these accurately describes my God.

In Romans 8:28 the Apostle Paul writes,"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
My take from this passage is that God is taking all things (good or bad things - things God wants and things that he doesn't want) and either using them or redeeming them for good, aka his will. But if he is using it for his will then isn't he getting what he wants? Doesn't that put us back at square one; God getting what he wants? (I am glad you asked.) Here is what I think happens. I believe that a lot of things happen in this world that God mourns over, grieves over and even regrets ever happened, but God's ultimate and purpose will occur. It may be something like a coach who, during a game, watches his team at times make excellent plays exactly as he has planned and other times watches his team make plays that aren't remotely what he had in mind. Yet, ultimately despite the unintended parts of the game the coach is doing everything in his power to come away with a game that his team wins. I believe God has an wonderful ultimate desire and plan for his creation/people and I believe that he will see his plan to its finishing point (Phillipians 1:6). God may not always get what he wants now but there will be a day when he will answer Jesus' prayer and his desires will done on earth as it is in heaven.