Discerning God’s Will by Kristin Orphan

Discerning
God’s Will by Kristin Orphan
Often I
have conversations with families who are trying to understand what God is
asking them to do.  The journey of foster
care and adoption is full of twists and turns. 
We may be heading down one path and then a door closes and we are faced
with either stopping or taking a turn. 
As believers, we desire to be obedient to God’s calling on our life, but
how do we know what that calling is?
1 – Determining
God’s will through his Word:
  Anything that aligns with the precepts
and commandments in his Word is his will for us – like the fruit of the spirit,
or generosity, honesty, grace, tithing and forgiveness when others hurt us.
 These things may not be easy, but we know it is his will, because his
Word is clear on these points.  We always go to his Word first.
 Anything we think or feel or desire that contradicts his Word and his
character as described in his Word – we can be certain is not his will for us.
 
2 – Those
times when God places a strong passion, desire OR calling in our hearts:
 The
things we do big and small that align with his Word and our calling to
represent Christ on this earth AND are specific to the gifts and desires he
gives us.  Like hospitality, singing on the worship team, organizing a
food drive, etc. Again, these actions may require sacrifice or cause
discomfort, but we are confident that he is directing our path and providing
opportunities, because they are clearly a reflection of who God made us to be
and we cannot imagine our life without it. 
In these situations, we still ask God to open and close doors according
to his plan.
3 – When
God disrupts our plans and even our desires and asks us to do something that
either doesn’t make practical sense OR we simply do not want to do it:
We
see several examples in scripture of this. Jonah, whom God called to go to the
Ninevites and tell them to repent so he could save them, hated the people and
absolutely had no desire to be a part of their redemption.  Joseph had
every right to divorce Mary quietly when she told him she was pregnant.  It took a visit from an Angel to redirect Joseph’s
path.  Also, when Jesus stopped Paul on
the road and disrupted his pursuit to persecute Christians and called him
instead to preach the good news to the Gentiles.  Even Jesus himself
prayed that God would deliver him from the cross, but said, “but not my will,
yours be done.”  In these examples, God was VERY clear. He left no
doubt in his will.  I believe we can look back at these examples and know
that when God calls us out of our comfort zone, life plan and even beyond our
personal gifts and desires, He will be faithful to be very clear with us. He
loves us and does not want to confuse us. In these times, we pray continually,
search his Word, wait patiently and trust that his Spirit is alive and actively
working on our behalf.  He will show us what obedience looks like.  

It becomes even more
challenging when working through these decisions in a marriage and family,
because the husband and wife can experience different emotions and desires.
 Once again, we have to come back to the faithfulness of our God.
 His will does not hurt one to help another.  So, we trust that he’ll
bring us along ultimately to a place of agreement and unity when we humbly
offer our desires to him and pray, “but not my will, yours be done.”  We wait patiently for clarity, then we take
action and trust God to equip us for his calling