There are many reality shows on TV these days which feature daring competitors willing to do just about anything at all to win – to win their 15 minutes of fame. Often these contestants claim that they represent “everyman” and that they have the inside scoop on what people want to hear or see…they claim to know the mind of the people.
Through the years, many people have attempted to do the same with God. “It’s the Will of God!” cries a bystander at the scene of an accident. “It must be the Will of God…” weeps a young woman over the loss of a job. So many people attribute so much to the Will of God…as though the Will of God might be that clearly understood and that easily pegged.
St. Thomas Aquinas once wrote that just when you are sure that you finally understand God, you really have no idea at all.
What is God’s Will – Really?
The temptation to attribute God’s will to all that is mysterious – and sometimes illogical - in our lives can become a sweeping expression which simply prevents us from pondering the deeper realities at hand. We can be tempted to stop thinking. We relegate “God’s Will” to a foggy world of questions without comprehensible answers. Yet – isn’t it sometimes true that when we think we know the answers, we stop asking the questions?
The ancients understood the “will of God” to be ultimately related to a lifestyle in accordance with membership to the people of God. If you claim to belong to God’s family, people will have certain legitimate expectations of your behavior. Living with a preoccupation of what God’s will is, reveals a desire to live a life that conforms to this reality.
Wrestling With the Mystery for 40 Days
These 40 days of Lent can be a time to fine-tune your heart to read between the lines of the Gospel stories. The will of God need not be a mystery. Have you pondered the Sunday reading where Jesus raises Peter’s mother-in-law from illness? Is there anything else in that story that relates to your life, right now?
Jesus made some amazing decisions in the three short years that he had for public ministry. Every encounter could have started with the words, “What if this is the last time I see this person?”
You would be right to say that his choices weren’t about 15 minutes of fame or even about assuming what the person in front of him most desired.
You have never lived this day in your life before. That’s the cue to respond in a new way, as well. “Who will God put in my path today? What action does God hope I will take? Why did I make the choice I did?”
Take some time with us this week to explore this mysterious, loving reality of the way God interacts with us and calls us to be our best selves.