(033) How to Know the Will of God

How do we know the will of God for our lives? It’s a question that is often hotly debated with one side emphasising the need for God’s direct guidance for our decisions and the other emphasising human free will (Listen to: Is God’s will a Narrow Path or a 6-Lane Freeway?).


In this podcast, John Peachey from the Mornings show at Rhema New Zealand and I take a different tack. We explore this commonly asked question by drawing on the story told in Jessica Kelley’s book Lord Willing. Against the backdrop of her dying 4 year old son’s battle with brain cancer, Jessica challenges the popular idea that God has some sort of master plan where he ordains and controls every decision. In this view, God’s plan did not include her son Henry’s cancer, nor did he even “allow” it. As Jessica so vividly communicates, Jesus came to give abundant life, not to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), so he could never be to blame for her son’s tragic death. God’s sovereignty does not mean he is a controlling micro-manager (Read: What We Mean When we Say God is in Control?), nor he is never to blame for the evil in the world.

Jessica’s conclusions about the nature of God’s sovereignty, the presence of evil and the dynamic of human autonomy help us to better understand how to navigate God’s will in our own lives. If we believe in the so-called ‘blueprint view’, God will always get the blame, ‘everything happens for a reason’ and there is little room for free will. In this way of thinking, we will be paralysed until we hear God’s voice and we will approach decisions with a fear of getting it wrong. But if we understand our world to be a powerful interplay of God’s intervention with the fallenness of humanity, we can be better equipped to navigate the ‘will of God’ in our lives.

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More about Lord Willing? by Jessica Kelley

Does God’s perfect plan really include this?

When her young son was diagnosed with brain cancer, Jessica Kelley couldn’t stomach Christian clichés. God’s will? Divine design? The Lord’s perfect plan? In Lord Willing?, Kelley boldly tackles one of the most difficult questions of the Christian life: if God is all-powerful and all-loving, why do we suffer? For Kelley, this question takes an even more painful and personal turn: did God lack the power or the desire to spare her four-year-old son?

For those dissatisfied with easy answers to why evil and tragedy occur, Lord Willing? offers a refreshing, hopeful journey straight to the heart of God. Be prepared for something more beautiful, more pure, and more healing than you can dare to imagine.

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