A phrase often heard from Christians referring to sickness and tragedy…desiring to bring comfort, conclude “God’s will be done”. If they were simply wishing that in the future God’s will be done, that would be fine. But sometimes it appears as though the well meaning brother is referring to the event itself when he says with a perplexed look on his face: “God’s will be done…”. On the contrary, God’s will is that we remain faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10)…not that we get sick or do not get sick or die! After all “…it is appointed for men to die…” (Hebrews 9:27). One may be reading more into the statement than the brother means, but words and phrases have meaning. We ALL need to be as articulate as possible for we will all be held accountable for our words (Matthew 12:37)!
Paul wrote: “…we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). From this verse the encouraging brother will say something like this: “I know that (situation x) is tough, but you know God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God, so something good is bound to happen from this….” In this context is it true? Is it God’s will that we suffer through illness? Is He responsible for our sickness? Will something good always come from troubles? Admittedly something good MAY occur: humility through weakness can soften a hardened, prideful heart leading one to He who is strong. Yet sickness may very easily drive a weak Christian from God. Certainly God will cause a good hereafter for a sick but faithful Christian who may die before others wish it, they will be with the Lord everlastingly! But the notion that God’s will is involved in every event or trouble, attaching some noble purpose of good further down the road that ‘we just can’t see yet’, is totally without scriptural backing. Show the scripture if this is so.
Are all things a consequence of God’s will?
An example may be useful: Was the Class 5 Tornado in Oklahoma (5/20/13) God’s will? Did He directly purposely choose those 9 children to die along with other 15 adults in that chaos? Would you conclude “God’s will be done”? The truth is good and bad may happen to everyone. The preacher proclaimed: “I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all.” (Eccl 9:11).
Was the brutal attack by Islamists running down an off duty British soldier and then hacking him to death (5/22/13) God’s will? Does “God’s will be done” include such acts of evil? Certainly not! The soldier perished because those blinded by Islam were doing the work of their father Satan: “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning…”(John 8:44).
But…God “causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). Yes, God set the world in motion, with what we refer to as “Laws of Nature” which determine the weather and temperature etc, but nowhere in scripture does it indicate God directly sends tornadoes to hurt individuals personally, “…time and chance overtake them all.” When someone jumps off a skyscraper and hits the ground, GRAVITY…which God’s will created, accelerates the individual quickly to his doom, but God did not tell him to jump! Jesus did tell His disciples to pray “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). but nowhere did He indicate everything that happens IS God’s will!
Unfortunately some have idly said “God’s will be done!” when something negative happens…perhaps as though He willed it. This concept of God’s will makes Him responsible for everything good or bad. Believing God does not have a direct hand in everything does not mean He is somehow less powerful or will not interact with mankind OR that there is not a reason why something happens. There is just no Biblical basis to attribute a negative event to God. Brethren, we need to be careful of misapplying scripture and accidentally through our speech attributing something horrific to a matter of God’s will. Remember what the prophet Amos said “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7). Without God speaking to us through divine prophecy, is it pure speculation to connect God’s will to any action or event that happens today. It may be His direct interaction, or it may not, but be very careful in giving God ‘credit’ for troubles that come your way.
We know God is almighty (Revelation 1:8), all knowing (Psalm 139), the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 22:13). Our God is an awesome God. But some from this erroneously conclude that He controls every single action and event that takes place on earth. This is FALSE. Just because God is omniscient does not mean He controls every single event or action taken here on earth. Along with this false idea stems the concepts of ‘fate’, false beliefs about ‘predestination’, and ‘destiny’…all ideas which remove from us any personal decision making or responsibility. These beliefs create an existence that has already been determined, and therefore we can do nothing about, it is “God’s will”. Examples of this line of thought include: “Whatever will be will be” and “Nothing happens unless God decrees it”.
John Calvin (1509-1564AD) used this false concept of God’s sovereignty to dissolve any responsibility for mankind’s actions. Calvin claimed, as many blindly did before him, that since God is omnisciently sovereign, we have no control over any portion of our lives. Hence the system of Calvinism was born. Being a ‘domino style’ theology, each idea builds and is contingent upon the previous assumption. Total Depravity is built upon the false concept of God’s sovereignty, followed by Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. These components together are easily remembered by the acronym TULIP. Calvinism has fooled many into complacency with the false notion that we can do nothing, there’s nothing to be done, God has done it all already, therefore live life, and realize it’s all been decided already! Concepts of fate, destiny, individual personal predestination, “what will be will be” play a big part in Calvinism. Most denominations have swallowed this unbiblical teaching, and unfortunately, many brethren have absorbed some of these ideas of fate and destiny unknowingly. Beware the error of Calvinism and erroneously attributing a loved one’s troubles to “God’s will”. Remember “…time and chance overtake them all.” (Eccl 9:11) and “…it is appointed for men to die…” (Hebrews 9:27).
David wrote concerning God: “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. 3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all.” (Psalms 139:1-4). As David pointed out God IS aware of everything we say and do. But He does NOT approve of everything OR actively manipulate everything around us. To assume such is to go beyond the scriptures and attribute events and deeds to God which at best is disrespectful, at worst blasphemous. This does not mean God never interacts, God hears prayers of those striving to please Him, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much…” (James 5:16). Why would James encourage us to pray if God’s will is already made up?
When we acknowledge “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” (James 4:14-17). we simply concede we are appointed to die, the humble, feeble creatures that we are…and should not boast (v16) falsely thinking we are all knowing about tomorrow (v14).
This is God’s will: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
God does not desire nor plan our grisly death, nor that we be blown away in a tornado. But, we must realize “you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14). God’s will is that we be prepared no matter what tomorrow brings! Are you prepared? “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:17-18).