"Thus it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish" (Matthew 18:14 NAS).
During World War II Dr. Leslie D. Weatherhead gave five talks on the will of God to his City Temple congregation in England. Fortunately for the rest of the world, they were published. Every time I hear "It's God's will," I think of this remarkable little book and how it clarified God's will for me.
Dr. Weatherhead separated God's will into three parts: 1) Intentional; 2) Circumstantial, and 3) Ultimate (ICU).
- God's INTENTIONAL WILL is for our good. This is Adam and Eve in the Garden. When God created Adam and Eve, it was His intention that they live forever and be happy. But they sinned and were expelled from Paradise.
- His CIRCUMSTANTIAL WILL is because of the circumstances in our lives. It is within this will that we find God's permissive will. This is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. This is Job 42:2: "I know (faith) that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted."; It is the all of Romans 8:28, that glorious rod and staff of the grieving: "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." I know (wisdom) I can (possibility) do (accomplishment) all things whatsoever He asks!
- His ULTIMATE WILL is for His glory and our good. This is Christ's resurrection and our resurrection. It is us all in the New Earth.
As I read the book I was comforted in the fact that nothing falls outside the circle of Divine Providence:
- the knowledge of God embraces it;
- His power is sovereign over it;
- His mercy holds it creatively.
We need to understand God's will and its components before we tell the person prostrate with grief that "It's God's will." As I read this incredible treatise, I viewed us as being in God's ICU unit and God taking care of us as only He can do, no matter what our circumstances.
Thank You, Father, for being our Physician in Your ICU unit!
I liked the three divisions. It does seem that there is a permissive aspect to the will of God. Here is an excerpt from something I wrote about God's will a few years ago:
God's will is so inclusive and is so greater than our religious ideas often lead us to believe. There is truly no delineation between the sacred and the secular. Each of us have a sacred call in, and of, our heart. Connecting with that heart call and desire takes a bit of courage.Sometimes when I think about the will of God I go to the verse that follows the one in the eighth chapter of Romans that speaks of God causing all things to work together for good. It speaks of the reason that he does it.. it says that God works all for our good so that we might be like Jesus. In the end I think that this is the overarching will of God for humanity - that we would be like Him.. and I add my amen to that.