“God does not reveal His will to those who want to know it.”
We respected the older overseas worker enough not to begin yelling immediately in protest. We were, after all, a class of candidates hoping to end up in far flung countries as we followed God’s will. We were seeking, fully expecting to find God’s will.
The older worker repeated his statement, “God does not reveal His will to those who want to know it.” Then added, “God reveals His will to those who want to do it.”
We all sighed in relief, glad that he was not a heretic, resolving to continue to seek God’s will.
But looking back, I wonder why we sighed in such ready relief. Early on in life, we learn that when a friend asks, “I need you to promise me something. Do you promise?” the wise person first asks, “What do you want me to promise?”
God breaks that rule. “Come, follow me,” he says. “I won’t tell you where our path goes, but promise that you’ll stay close behind me.” Wouldn’t it be prudent to first ask where, exactly, we’re going before committing ourselves?
In the climax of some of my favorite movies and TV shows, one last insurmountable, deadly obstacle stands in the way of two friends. These partners have been through hell and back together. One of them has a plan, but there’s no time to communicate it to his partner. Instead, the hero turns, looks his compatriot straight in the eye and says, “Do you trust me?”
This is the equivalent of saying, “Do you promise?” Because as soon as the partner says, “Yes, I trust you,” he’ll be swept up in something he didn’t expressly agree to or get to help decide upon. The partner always says, “Yeah, I’m right behind you.” Do whatever you think best, I’ve got your back.
When we all sighed in relief that God would reveal His will to us if we stood ready to do it, we had no idea what would be next. We didn’t know that one of the marriages in the room would break up less than a year later. We didn’t know that arriving as planned in our countries would be harder and more painful than we’d imagined. We didn’t expect God to change some of our best laid plans.
But God has – rather literally – been to hell and back with us. He’s led us through some hard places before and we’ve come out on the other side. But up ahead is the next obstacle…
It looks dreadful and deadly.
He turns to us and looks us straight in the eye.
He asks, “Do you trust me?”