Before I begin, I have a story to tell…
Melissa and I met in the church where I was on staff 9 years ago. We didn’t really talk until about 6 months before we were married. We began as friends (still friends), and didn’t get romantically involved until about 2 months before we were married.
We had began talking marriage about 2 weeks before we got married, and one Sunday night began working on a the specifics of a wedding – the where, when, and who to invite stuff. The next morning I had to take one of the teens from church to youth camp in Hot Springs, so Melissa decided to tag along so we could goof off for a day. On the way there, we passed a “drive through” wedding chapel called “The Chapel of Love”. We all laughed and said something about it sounding easy, but our families would kill us.
After dropping the teen off at camp and goofing off for a while in Hot Springs, we decided to head back home. We had to pass the same little wedding chapel on the way, and I looked at her and she looked at me making my heart jump. I kept driving. I drove for an hour contemplating the idea.
Finally, I got the guts and said “let’s turn around and go check it out.” So we turned around and drove back to Hot Springs to check out the wedding chapel. The minister who was there showed us what they do, and explained that we needed a marriage license. Wanting to marry Melissa so bad I was about to pop, and thinking that the Lord would somehow stop me if I was doing something stupid, we headed to the Garland County Courthouse. First, I thought they’d be closed, and said “if they’re open and we can get a license today, we’ll take it as a sign from God that we need to get married today.” They were in fact open, they gave us the license, and locked the doors behind us as we left!
We had the most beautiful wedding ceremony there at “The Chapel of Love”. It was witnessed by the landscaper. We had those toy foil rings you get from a party store for wedding bands. What was so incredible was the presence of God we both felt during the ceremony. We knew God’s hand was on our marriage at that moment, and we know even to this day that God created us for each other.
Prior to our marriage, Melissa and I both heard from people around us who tried to discourage us from one another. There were reasons from “God told me to tell you no” to “but what about…” given to us. Still yet, when we got married, from that day forward, we made no apologies for getting married. It was God’s will and we knew it.
The big question people ask, and get more confused by preachers (sorry preachers) with than any:
How do I know I’m in the will of God?
Ps 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
1) God orders our steps! When your marching orders are from Him, you can enjoy the march. This may make some people scratch their heads, and may open up a can of worms, but here’s what I believe… I don’t believe in this permissive/perfect will stuff we hear. I believe that this particular teaching is causing people to have an excuse to do whatever they please, live how they please, ignore God, and still think they have squeaked by in God’s “will.” I’d much rather go through life knowing I’m doing God’s will than to doubt it by thinking somehow He’s rewriting the rules of what’s in His will so I can do that my flesh wants. You are either doing His will, or you are not.
Here’s what’s awesome about this: Even though we do things that are not what He would want us to do, He can still order your steps to get you back to doing His will!
Here’s what else I find awesome: There are times when we think we’ve “missed God” by doing something that failed, or by not doing something that is working for someone else.
About 2 months ago I decided to try investing on the stock market, so I purchased some stock in a major car company that I felt was at a low and was going to increase. The price was at about 6.80/share when I invested. About 2 weeks after the purchase, everybody said in their own way that I should not have done this. Analysts were on TV hitting red buttons saying “get out of this stock” “Sell!Sell!Sell!Sell!” The stock price dropped down to about 5.00 per share just 4 weeks after I invested. I was doing the math of how much I already had lost and thinking how much lower it was going to go. I was already planning how I was going to explain losing this money to Melissa. That’s when the scripture above came up inside of me and I knew that God didn’t lead me here for ultimate defeat. Today the stock price is now over a dollar higher than when I invested, and I just read a report that this company was talking about going private – the rumored buyout price… over twice of what I paid.
Moral of the story… You can’t let what’s happening today determine in your mind whether you’ve heard from God or not.
2) Doing the will of God is all about hearing your marching orders. I believe that when a child of God stays close to Him, hears His heartbeat, stays in the Word, spends time with Him in prayer and worship, he or she begins to hear from God through their everyday life. That’s how I believe God orders your steps.
I didn’t hear a voice from the sky (or anywhere else for that matter) saying “Go marry Melissa.” Nor did I hear a voice from the sky saying “have some triplets.” I am simply marching where God says go and delighting in the way that He prepared for me. Although I’ve failed and stepped out of His will in many areas of my life over the years, I thank Him for leading me back so I can delight in His way.
The will of God is not a huge complex mystery. Unfortunately, people spend too much time worrying about knowing God’s will instead of getting to know Him. Perhaps you are one who is concerned about God’s will for your life. My instruction to you is get to know God, hear His hearbeat, then begin walking, and enjoy where He takes you.
Father, as this is read by those who wish to know Your will, I pray that this will serve as a gentle reminder to them to seek after You. You are our source of direction, strength, and wisdom.
As the song sings, o Lord:
We thirst for You, We search for You
In a dry and barren land
We’re longing for Your hand
To guide us to a place where You
Can cleanse us with Your rain
Baptise us once again – we thirst for You