GOD, will of
While crossing a bridge in London, John Wesley stumbled and sprained his ankle. Some
friends carried him to the house of Mrs. Mary Vazielle on Threadneedle Street. She was a
widow with several children. She cared for Wesley and his response to her concern was to
ask her to marry him. If we were writing fiction we might say that the sprained ankle was
God's providential way to bring those people together. But the marriage was a disaster,
and Mary finally left John. Had Wesley consulted with his brother Charles, and asked for
the prayers of the brethren, he might have avoided that unfortunate situation. Mary was
accustomed to her quiet home, and it was difficult for her to travel with her husband and
stay in uncomfortable inns. It is unfortunate that Mary was not content just to ignore
John's ministry; she actually opposed it. She gave certain personal letters to his enemies
and even made additions to them that made them worse! Once she even pulled her husband
around on the floor by his hair! "I felt as though I could have knocked the soul out
of her!" one of Wesley's friends said. Wesley concluded that his unhappy marriage
encouraged him to work harder and not complain about missing the comforts of a home.
Certainly it encouraged him to be away from home more!
W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching and Preachers,
Moody Press, 1984, p. 246.
The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's
salvation, faith and life is either expressly set down in Scripture or by good and
necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture, unto which nothing at anytime is to
be added whether by new revelations of the Spirit or traditions of man.
Westminster Confession of Faith.
Bob Mumford compares discovering God's will with a sea captain's docking procedure: A
certain harbor in Italy can be reached only by sailing up a narrow channel between
dangerous rocks and shoals. Over the years, many ships have been wrecked, and navigation
is hazardous. To guide the ships safely into port, three lights have been mounted on three
huge poles in the harbor. When the three lights are perfectly lined up and seen as one,
the ship can safely proceed up the narrow channel. If the pilot sees two or three lights,
he knows he's off course and in danger. God has also provided three beacons to guide us.
The same rules of navigation apply--the three lights must be lined up before it is safe
for us to proceed. The three harbor lights of guidance are:
1. The Word of God (objective standard)
2. The Holy Spirit (subjective witness)
3. Circumstances (divine providence)
Together they assure us that the directions we've received are from God and will lead
us safely along his way.
Bob Mumford, Take Another Look At Guidance.
Once, while Francis of Assisi was hoeing his garden, he was asked, "What would you
do if you suddenly learned that you were to die at sunset today?" He replied, "I
would finish hoeing my garden."
George Sweeting, Moody Monthly, May 1988, p. 95.
At a meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Bobby Richardson, former New York
Yankee second baseman, offered a prayer that is a classic in brevity and poignancy:
"Dear God, Your will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. Amen."
If we want God to guide us, our attitude needs to be right. Here are some guidelines as
to how we can play our part in arriving at right decisions.
First, we must be willing to think. It is false piety, super-supernaturalism of an
unhealthy pernicious sort that demands inward impressions with no rational base, and
declines to heed the constant biblical summons to consider. God made us thinking beings,
and he guides our minds as we think things out in his presence.
Second, we must be willing to think ahead and weigh the long-term consequences of
alternative courses of action. Often we can only see what is wise and right, and what is
foolish and wrong, as we dwell on the long-term issues.
Third, we must be willing to take advice. It is a sign of conceit and immaturity to
dispense with taking advice in major decisions. There are always people who know the
Bible, human nature, and our own gifts and limitations better than we do, and even if we
cannot finally accept their advice, nothing but good will come to us from carefully
weighing what they say.
Fourth, we must be willing to be ruthlessly honest with ourselves. We must suspect
ourselves: ask ourselves why we feel a particular course of action will be right and make
ourselves give reasons.
Fifth, we must be willing to wait. "Wait on the Lord" is a constant refrain
in the Psalms and it is a necessary word, for the Lord often keeps us waiting. When in
doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God.
James Packer, Your Father Loves You. Harold Shaw
When the preacher's car broke down on a country road, he walked to a nearby roadhouse
to use the phone. After calling for a tow truck, he spotted his old friend, Frank, drunk
and shabbily dressed at the bar. "What happened to you, Frank?" asked the good
reverend. "You used to be rich."
Frank told a sad tale of bad investments that had led to his downfall. "Go
home," the preacher said. "Open your Bible at random, stick your finger on the
page and there will be God's answer. "Some time later, the preacher bumped into Frank,
who was wearing a Gucci suit, sporting a Rolex watch and had just stepped our of a
Mercedes. "Frank." said the preacher, "I am glad to see things really
turned around for you." "Yes, preacher, and I owe it all to you," said
Frank. "I opened my Bible, put my finger down on the page and there was the
Reader's Digest, March, 1993, p. 71.
A minister received a call from a church that offered him a salary four times what he
was then receiving. Being a devout man, he spent much time in prayer trying to discern
what God wanted him to do. One day a friend met the minister's young son on the street.
"Do you know what your dad is going to do?" he asked. "Well," replied
the youngster, "Dad's praying, but Mom's packing!"