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Core 52 Chapter 43: Knowing God's Will

Growing up in Florida, I have had many different experiences with our natural nemesis – Hurricanes.  Every year from June through October it seems as if there is a renewal of an ongoing battle between the storms of the Atlantic and the east coast of Florida. Having spent most of that time living in the Northeast coastal area (from Daytona to Jacksonville), I seem to recall only a handful of storms reaching landfall, or even just skimming the coast in this cove like portion of the US east coast.  As forecasters would often project, and as most in this region know, the majority of the storms approach us from the south, slow down in the Caribbean, hit the Gulf Stream and make a hard turn for the north, just missing the “First Coast.”  This wasn’t always the case, but if my memory serves me correctly, it seems as if the majority of the time, when storms made the turn north, that is what happened.

With all that being said, there were still many times when the local weather forecasters would use a phrase that can either bring the fear of God into your heart and soul or can cause you to laugh as you realize how low the expected percentage of getting a forecast correct is for a successful meteorologist! That phrase is “The cone of uncertainty!” All of us have heard it, usually in reference to the target area of a storm from 5-7 days away.  This cone can empty shelves of bottled water and plywood all over the 904 area code in only a few hours.  It is a place of preparedness that one should not ignore, yet always with the hope that this cone would move away from us and spare us from the brunt of the storm.

This week we are reading about knowing the will of God. I don’t dare compare knowledge of God’s will, but I will use a similar comparison that has most often helped me out when trying to determine God’s will for my life. Hopefully it will help you do the same.

When we think of God’s will, we often mistakenly think of it in terms of specific answers. For example, we want to determine God’s will in choosing the “one” He has selected to be our spouse, or the “one” school He has chosen for us to attend, or even as over-complicated as the “one” restaurant to go to after church on Sundays. Sometimes the will of God can be answered in a specific way by a specific person at a specific time, but more times than not, I don’t think that’s the case.

If we read from the passages referred to in this week’s readings (John 7:17, 1 Corinthians 2:11-14), we get the idea that God’s will is not some specific instruction manual written just for us, but rather a spectrum for us to stay in or a range in which we can reside.  Or maybe it may help to define God’s will as the “cone of certainty” in regards to knowing His will for your life.

In other words, if you want to know God’s will, then follow God’s ways. When you follow God’s ways, you make decisions that lead to God’s glory. When you live a life focused on God’s glory, then you will find yourself living in God’s will.

Instead of worrying and over-analyzing each decision, wondering if it is the will of God, let’s just think about how we can spend more time in the “cone of certainty.”  Along with the ever popular “what would Jesus do,” phrase, maybe we should also be asking ourselves, “Does this please God?”  Does this school choice lead me to a place I can honor Christ? Does this relationship honor God? Does this career allow me to glorify God? Does my schedule/calendar prioritize God’s direction and guidance or mine? Does my bank account reflect my ability to give God glory? If all these questions and more like them can be answered with a resounding yes, then I think you’re living in the cone of certainty and God is getting the glory He deserves.

- Pete Ramsey