Godtalk: Obedience to God's will


God has a bigger plan for me than I have for myself

God's will is not some abstract idea to be figured out or puzzled over.  The simple truth is that God’s will is what God actually wills to send us each day, in the way of  circumstances, places, people and problems God sets before us at that time.  We have to learn to recognise his will in the reality of the situation.

We have no need to wonder what God’s will must be for us;  his will is revealed in every situation of everyday life.  We must try to see all things as God sees them and sends to us. 

The challenge lies in learning to accept this truth and act on it. 

When life changes for the better, acceptance is no problem.  You meet a new friend, get promotion at work, fall in love.   You learn that you’ll soon become a mother or father, grandmother/father. In these cases acceptance is easy.  All we need to do is to be grateful.

But what happens when life presents us with unavoidable suffering?   The example of the Jesuit approach to obedience may be helpful.  What enables  a Jesuit, having presented his own view, to accept difficult decisions by his superior,  can help anyone:  the realisation that this is what God is inviting us to experience at this moment.  It is the understanding that somehow God is with us at work and revealed in a new way in this experience.

It’s not that God wills suffering or pain, nor that any of us will ever fully understand the mystery of suffering.  Nor that we need to look at every difficulty as God’s will.  Some suffering should be avoided, lessened or combated:  treatable illnesses, abusive marriages, unhealthy work situations.

God invites us to accept the inescapable realities placed before us.  We can either turn away from that acceptance of life and continue on our own, or we can plunge into the  reality of the situation and try to find God there in new ways.

‘Lord, give us courage to change what ought to be changed, serenity to accept what cannot be changed, and wisdom to know the difference.’          

Peter Knott SJ