Feb 202014 272 Responses

A Dangerous Assumption About God’s Will

He made all the right decisions. He dated slowly, chose wisely, did everything I asked of him in pre-marital counseling, and despite all his wise choices, his wife left him just months into the marriage.

She made all the right decisions. Three job offers were on the table. Her knowledge and ability was recognized by everyone. She prayed, sought wise counsel, and made the best decision she knew to make. Within the year the company failed and she was without a job.

There is a common assumption regarding God’s will. It’s the belief that success is the ultimate sign of choosing correctly. It’s the belief that if you make a decision which honors God, God will honor you with success. It’s a dangerous assumption.

I hear it as people are:

debating which job to take. The assumption is that if they chose the right one they will be happy, make money, and experience tremendous success. (See: How Tyler Wilson Made a Good Decision that Cost Him Millions)

choosing a spouse. Choose the right one and the marriage is guaranteed to make it. (See: The Number One Cause of Divorce)

making faith decisions. If they obey God, they assume everything will turn out for the best.

In part, this is true. In the end, God will use everything for our good. Yet the end is a long way off, and between now and then we are not guaranteed health, wealth, and success.

As a matter of fact, it is very possible to make a wise choice and have a bad outcome.

As much as we want to control our lives and guarantee outcomes, they are rarely controllable and never guaranteed.

Of course there is a general principle that good choices lead to good consequences and bad choices lead to bad consequences. Some of life is controllable and some outcomes are guaranteed. Addictions will not end well. Disobeying God rarely benefits in the short-term and will never benefit us in the long-term.

Yet making good choices does not guarantee an outcome we will love. Praying, listening to wise counsel, reading the Bible, and doing everything in our power to make a wise choice does not mean a new job will be easy, that a marriage will be perfect, or that doing what the Bible says will lead to a reconciled friendship or popularity. (See: Karma or Grace)

The best example of this might be a popular verse. For many people, Jeremiah 29.11 is a life verse. The promise of God is that He has a plan for us—a plan to prosper us and not to harm us, a plan to give us a hope and future. It is a tremendous verse.

But do you know the context of Jeremiah 29? It’s in relation to God’s people being in exile. God is reminding His people that even as they suffer, He has not forgotten them. It’s a verse of great hope, but it’s a verse which shows that hope will not come immediately. They would spend 70 years in exile. Entire generations would pass before this verse would be fulfilled. The verse is often the exact opposite of what many people assume about God’s will. (See: How We Respond to Suffering)

Remember, God’s will was for John to be exiled, Paul to be jailed, Jesus to be executed. Why do we assume God’s will for us is to have a great job, a happy wife, and a large bank account?

We have a responsibility to do everything we can to make wise choices and obey God’s commands. However, our obedience will not guarantee immediate success. We are guaranteed that when we obey, a day will come in which we will never regret it.

Obey. And if suffering or failure follows your obedience, don’t be too quick to assume you have chosen wrongly. You obey and leave the outcomes to God.

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272 Responses to A Dangerous Assumption About God’s Will
  1. Leejr Reply

    Agree. Leaving Grand on faith placed me at small country church, it was very painful. At least you met your wife through my obedience. Ha ha

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      gut-wrenching for you, life satisfying for me. Thanks.

    • Kat Reply

      Excellent points in this article. How many times have I concluded blessings will follow my obedience only to find bitterness at the end of that theological road?

      • mamadandelion Reply

        (general ‘you’ used for illustrative purposes)

        I do believe a large issue is being obedient based on the assumption that things will go the way you want. I’m sure it’s not intentional, but following God’s will, doing things ‘right’ in order to receive your reward is the wrong reason. Until the reason is nothing more than, ‘this is the right thing to do’ and being content knowing the result could be painful in someway, but still doing it, until that happens, expect you’ll find more exile than promised land.

        Live the gospel, not for recognition and pats on the back, not to check off one more item on your spiritual checklist, but live the gospel because it’s the right thing to do.

        Great, you go to mass weekly, you volunteer in a soup kitchen, you shovelled your neighbours walk – all of those are wonderful, but when you then posted to fb that you did it – that’s where you stumbled.

        Kevin: Great, thought provoking post. It’s always nice to have a reminder. 🙂

  2. Angie Reply

    This is amazing! In my opinion, one of your best. If we could only internalize this, I think we could live a much happier and fulfilled life knowing that in the end, no matter what happens in the course of our life, it will all come together. When we assume that failures in life equal failures in our decisions, it leaves us questioning more and becoming frustrated with ourselves and God. When we realize that sometimes, even when we make good choices, bad things just happen, we can then see that joy can be found and contentment in the fact that God still holds us firmly and has a bigger picture for us in mind. It is indeed freeing! Thank you for this post. It has encouraged me today.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Thanks Angie.

    • Christina H. Reply

      Great comment…completely agree with you!

  3. Andrew Messick Reply

    Good word Kevin

  4. Majetta Green Reply

    God used this message for me today! I needed it! Thanks.

  5. Wayne Reply

    Kevin,

    I like what you wrote.

    Logically, you applied God’s plans for Paul, Jesus, and others to US rather quickly. But that does not mean God’s plan for me is different or the same as His plan was for them.

    It only matters that I follow.

    Wayne
    Luvsiesous.com

  6. TexasCeCe Reply

    With my stage four breast cancer, eople always tell me “You will be healed.” (And yes, I still pray that I am completely) I know I will be healed but sometimes I wonder if they know that MIGHT mean the other side of heaven. God’s will may be NOT to heal me but He is still doing what He needs to do through me. It is hard to understand. He has a plan. It may not be mine or my timing. Still a plan.

    • Linda Reply

      Texas CeCe… When I learned I had breast cancer, I somehow didn’t panic. I left it all in God’s hands. Then four years later I had it again on the other side. Same reaction. Thanks to God I am now 5 years free. Trust him to do what is best for you. I can tell you already do that .

    • Dgicus Reply

      We have a lot of silly, thoughtless ideas about what healing is, imo. My friend died healed last year: advanced lung cancer took his life in 12 months flat, but throughout the ordeal he was as tender, kind, and cheerful as he had the strength to be. I’ll take that kind of being healed over a lot of what passes for healing in the church. Enjoy your journey– beauty, healing, heartbreak, terror, and all. None of us are getting out of this alive.

  7. TexasCeCe Reply

    oops, I meant to spell PEOPLE not eople. It auto corrected it somehow:(

  8. D.MarieProkop Reply

    I think of peope aaccepted this reality, less people would leave church, God, and their faith. Maybe less would come to faith in the first place, but I am not so sure about that. I keep two truths in my mind as often as possible- 1. God is God and I am not. And 2. God is love.
    These truths keep me humble and purposeful.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      I think you are dead right about leaving the church, etc. What people often reject about faith and the church is a false notion of both faith and the church.

  9. Rebecca Reply

    This is absolutely right on! Thank you!

  10. Tymm H. Reply

    thanks for this. the idea that “success, happiness and overall goodness equals a blessing or answered prayer” is something has driven me crazy over the past few years. I wish more christians would outwardly profess and declare that following His will doesn’t always look peachy clean, abundantly rich and joyfully happy…

  11. Diantha Leavitt Reply

    God is definitely in charge. Sometimes I wonder why things happen the way they do, but I never wonder about my relationship with God. He is my guide and I am His follower. Plain and simple. Thanks for the remarks!

  12. Adam Reply

    I was thinking too that even we put forth our best efforts at discerning God’s will that we might not get it right. That being said, God can teach us through each decision we make no matter what the outcome. We just have to do our best to glorify him in all we do.

  13. Sam Reply

    The disciples were following Jesus’ direct, verbal orders when they got into the boat & headed across the Sea of Galilee, only to encounter a horrific storm. There WILL be trouble in this world – but HE has overcome the world!

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Great point Sam. A co-worker reminded me that the disciples were obeying Jesus and faced a storm while Jonah was disobeying God and faced a storm. Storms come either way.

  14. Kitty Hinkle Reply

    Do I have your permission to use this article in our weekly bulletin? I think this is a great article.

  15. Les Ferguson, Jr. Reply

    This has been such a hard lesson to learn. As a preacher, I assumed some protection from God. But, two murders later and the suicide of a church member who destroyed my family…

  16. Mango Reply

    the article says: “obey God’s commands” i wonder, if god said, it’a morally justifiable to murder children, would god’s believers start killing kids?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Mango, that’s a hypothetical which I don’t have to wonder about. God hasn’t commanded that.

  17. Mango Reply

    I read a lot of assumption in these posts. “god is definitely in charge”. Well how do you know? In that statement there are at least 3 assumptions: 1. that god exists (how do you know?), 2. that god is in charge (how do you know) and 3. that god is DEFINITELY in charge (basically by saying DEFINITELY, you leave no room for error, implying that god and ONLY god, NOTHING else is in charge. Additionally, that god MUST be in charge, implying that something MUST be in charge otherwise life as we known it, would end, that is, nature by definition requires a god or something, to be in charge). Ok, maybe there were 4 assumption. How can you make such assumption? How do you know all this to be the ultimate truth?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Mango, Very true about the assumptions. The best I understand the evidence which we have–the world, the people I know, the story of Jesus, etc–I have come to the conclusion there is a God and the assumptions I have laid out are the God which Jesus described. They are faith assumptions in the same way that we are all living off of some assumptions. Funny, the most important things in life cannot be totally verified at this moment, yet the decisions we make on those things define everything about us. What are your thoughts?

  18. Kathryn C Lang Reply

    The key to this hope is to hold to joy through the circumstances. It is not about focusing on the storm but about focusing on the One that calms the storm. 🙂

  19. robandrews14 Reply

    Thank you for writing this.

  20. L33 Reply

    In the end our suffering will be turned to good. The child being born is delivered into this world in pain and blood – should we not all be so blind as to believe we are any different. Your words are important and many people will read them and thank the Lord that it is not to their lot that you speak. However; the terrifying reality of life is that nothing is certain. At this moment we are transitional; moving from one moment to another with no understanding of the troubles that come our way. Being in God’s Will can be a powerful testimony to perseverance in the face of great suffering. I have felt pain, and I have felt Joy abundant; through the midst of it all I know He is there taking me from soul defining experience to life changing moment and beyond. Your words are indeed a call to reality for Christians and I for one take them with the Joy that neither suffering nor joy is fruitless when they occur at the center of God’s will.

  21. Roma Holley Reply

    I have struggled with this for the past 20 months. Ever since my 21 year old son was killed. I’ve seen other parents who have lost their children to poor decisions. They were doing the wrong thing and it caught up with them. While this may make it easier for ME to accept their death (certainly doesn’t help their parents), it makes it even harder to accept my son’s death. He was an innocent bystander, so to speak. He was just doing what he was supposed to be doing. And then his life was snatched away, in the blink of an eye. While I have struggled to accept that it is God’s Will, I have learned so much about His Love and His Healing. I have been comforted by the Knowledge that my son is with HIM. The roots of my faith were tested, but they held firm and in fact, deepened and strengthened. I believe that Kathryn C. Lang really nailed it for me….” The key to this hope is to hold to joy through the circumstances. It is not about focusing on the storm but about focusing on the One that calms the storm”. I appreciate your thoughts.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Roma, Thank you for your comment and I’m sorry for your loss. The quote from Lang is great.

    • Hope Reply

      Hi Roma,
      How heartbreaking for you and anyone who has lost a child. I actually don’t adhere to the belief that God really controls everything/everyone. I do think there are random things that happen and wonderful people we love are lost. People die of starvation – which really is lack of knowledge, resources, or assistance from others. All of these things are weaknesses but it is just how the Earth works. Everything is affected by the choices and actions of the people here. Nothing on the Earth is eternal in the physical form at least. I would not assume that God caused this to happen to you for any reason. I think its just as if he would have lived a long full life and then passed away to natural causes. Death is a part of our life cycle. When we lose someone or something valuable earlier than expected it is a greater loss for us. We also lose what we might have had. It is a double loss. But I don’t believe it was God’s intention. We need to remember that God is the good – the one who gave the life. One way to help the healing process in the loss of your son is to rebirth something that was good about him over and over. If he loved skateboarding – give a few skateboards to kids who can’t afford them yearly on his birthday. Things like that will help his legacy live on and in that you can share his story and the gift of his life.

  22. Susan Skitt Reply

    Well said. I remember reading that verse in Jeremiah during my Bible reading one time in its entire context and it was quite eye opening! Thanks for sharing that with everyone. I was raised a PK under my dad’s Bible ministry, came to know Jesus at 7, got married to my high school sweetheart from our church, had our first baby and nine months after that my first husband was killed in a tragic car accident. That was 22 years ago. Often we like to think that all will go well in this life – easy – but in the words of John 16:33, we WILL face tribulation in this world. But we can have peace and be of good cheer because of Jesus. Praise God that He never leaves us or forsakes us. I love reading the true life story in the Bible of Joseph – it really speaks volumes! Over and over it says, “The Lord was with him”. My parents taught us many Bible verses during family devotions growing up. Our special “family verse” was Deut. 31:8. Clinging to the promise that the Lord would go before me, that He would be with me, that He would not fail me, that he would not forsake me, gave me the courage to not give in to fear or to becoming dismayed.

  23. Christina H. Reply

    Funny how this can mess with our adult logic. But what a challenging reminder to grow and go with God fully assured that only the destination is guaranteed! 🙂

  24. GwRoch Reply

    struggling to find God’s direction in my life as I search for a job and begin my new life (after ending 30+ year marriage). I understand what you’re saying but can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t be easier if I didn’t believe. Maybe it’s because we as Christians have micro-sized God: believing that we need to pray about every.little.decision. Rather, should we know what His word says and live under that big bubble of truth?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      GW, In small ways it might be easier not to believe, but clearly in the end belief will always be better. I’m not convinced we need to pray about every little decision. I think we need to pray, choose wisely, and trust God.

    • Jason Reply

      Hey Mr GwRoch, I’m glad that through your troubles and storms you still have faith. Sir I know that your faith may be shaken but I also know that the solid foundation of Jesus Christ that you stand on will never be shaken.
      “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” (Isaiah 26:3-4)
      So “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

      Just wanted to let you know that a 17 year old kid from Singapore is praying for you. So just believe and let go and our big big Almighty God will help you through everything. In Jesus’ name.

  25. Robert Sutherland Reply

    I have no idea who you are and I rarely believe what anyone says about God or His word. This message, however, is spot on. Well done, sir. Blessings.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Thanks Robert. Sometimes I don’t have any idea who I am either–ha.

  26. Irving-Michelle Müller Reply

    Thanks for sharing. Recently had to let go of a church my family and I moved to plant. Now we’re in no-man’s land. Learning to trust from day to day like the Israelites in the desert though.

  27. Jody Johnson Runyan Reply

    I think it’s also important to note that just because a decision DOES lead to success or financial security, that it isn’t necessarily an indication that it was God’s will. There are an awful lot of successful, rich, Godless people in the world. If we as Christians assume that our choices are right just because they lead to success or wealth, we’re fooling ourselves just as much as the person who assumes that because they weren’t successful that it wasn’t God’s will.

  28. Susan Reply

    I think we (Christ Followers) sometimes (frequently?) forget that the Truth of who Jesus is to us and in our lives is most readily seen in how we respond to the difficulties of life. The Bible gives us the example of Job, who questioned, but did not curse God or rail against Him. He accepted the difficulties, severe as they were as coming from God’s hand. IN the New Testament, we are told “we have not yet suffered to the point of shedding blood”, referring to Jesus sweating of blood in the garden before His crucifixion, and also that we have experienced nothing that is not “common to man”. God places us in the positions he wants us so that He may use us there for His glory. We never know who we will be able to share Jesus with because of the hard places God takes us to or allows us to experience. So, yes we should think, consider, pray, seek godly counsel and make the decision that as best we can tell, is God’s plan. Then, whether is goes well or not well, hold fast that God knows where we are, does not abandon us, requires us to witness Him in our trouble and trust Him to carry us through it. One day, looking back, or perhaps from our place in eternity in Heaven, we will be able to trace the lines of connection and see what an awesome thing God did because He put us/allowed us to be in difficulty.

  29. drmikeprice Reply

    Very concise and very wise, full of God’s counsel and the reality of how it really is, weather people want to accept it or not! Excellent article and in fact it speaks the truth. Thank you and once again, well done. Your brother and friend in Christ, Mike Price 🙂

  30. Jim Knowlton Reply

    Perhaps the most astounding Scriptural example of what is written here is Job — who God described as the most righteous man in all the earth. Yet for little reason other than to prove God sovereign, both Satan and Job himself are ultimately subdued. And in God’s marvellous grace, even Job’s “friends” are healed. This “dangerous assumption” about which you write is the common error into which I see my friends of all ilks fall, be they Arminian, Calvinist, Pentecostal or stoic, and into which I myself am frequently tempted to fall.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Very true Jim. We just went through the Book of Job on Sunday morning and it was very convicting/encouraging.

  31. drmikeprice Reply

    Well said in a concise and truthful way. A lot of people have a hard time with this, but that does not change its reality. Excellent and well done. Your brother and friend in Christ, Mike Price

  32. Lori Reply

    Wow, this is great. So many times I hear people say that they “made the wrong decision” or “it must have not been God’s plan”. I will definitely take this to heart and also share with my friends!

  33. Paul Reply

    I think this response works more generally when talking about suffering and “failure”. God called Paul to Athens and yet Paul had few converts, there. But his success came in his obedience to God. I don’t think this works with marriage, though. God hates divorce. Would God bring two people together only to have them not end up getting married? That doesn’t seem like something that God would do. If he told persons X and Y to come together for the purpose of marriage, then he will ensure that they walk that road to marriage. Why would God call 2 people together if He knew that one would reject the other before marriage? That doesn’t make sense and doesn’t seem in line with God’s character.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Paul, you raise a good point. I think of it from the vantage point of we can never know for certain that God is calling us to marry someone. We are given the freedom to chose whom to marry. So it’s possible to make what seems like a good decision but it not turn out right. Or it’s possible for one person to do everything right and the other partner to destroy the marriage.

      • Ron Reply

        Kevin, I agree with you. God gave each of us free will. And through divorce I have learned you do not control God, nor do you control another person. But I have learned to submit and be closer to God.

      • Paul Reply

        Right, but then it’s no longer “God’s Will”, per se. It’s just a fallible decision made on the basis of our current information. I don’t think people should go around saying that God told them this, that, and the other, although, I also don’t doubt that God can still choose to reveal specific information if HE so chooses (He is God, after all). That being said, if God specifically told you to leave your city and go do missions in India, the decision to obey Him is what makes your decision successful. ‘Success’ is obedience to God. On the other hand, if God specifically told you to marry someone, then it doesn’t make sense for the marriage to not happen, for it was God who ordained it in the first place. Do you see what I mean? I think there’s a subtle, yet important distinction, here.

  34. Melanie Spaur Reply

    Its not complicated. God doesnt promise easy…ever. But he does promise he is there. Always. Nuff said:-)

  35. Cathy L. Martin Reply

    Job is the PERFECT example of this truth. However, we all tend to say the steps we take in any decision-making process are in subjection to what God wills for our lives; but as it pertains specifically to relationships, I want to know where the Bible instructs us to go through all of this dating, counseling, sampling, pre-marital stuff we, as Believers, have tied ourselves to? Believers have to go back to the simplicity of trusting God for guidance and relying on Him, and Him alone, for the mate we were created for, or the one created for us. This notion that taking methodical steps prior to entering into a marital relationship is not Biblical; at least not that I’ve found. When Boaz noticed Ruth I am certain he saw her heart over every other part of her. He was a man of “great wealth”, according to the Word, so there’s a strong possibility that he had access to many women, but his heart told him Ruth was the one. Until we get back to the basics of the Bible and allow God to lead our hearts to our mates, we will forever have relationships that are based on the worlds’ organized standards of what will ensure success. (We have not been called to mimic the behaviors of the world.)

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Cathy, my experience of doing weddings for nearly 20 years now would tell me the couples who go through a slow, methodical, and wise process have better marriages. Those who just make the decision on their own based on a feeling in the heart tend not to make it.

      • Cathy L. Martin Reply

        There are those who go through the “slow, methodical, and wise process” who do it “on their own”. So any time it’s done without God’s consent, no matter the length of time, you ultimately place yourself at risk for a not-so-good outcome. And we oftentimes equate ‘time in service’ – if you will – with success. But no one is really talking about the intimate failures they are too ashamed to disclose for fear of condemnation. There is no fool-proof way to ensure success in the flesh, and length of time in preparation does not appear to give much of an advantage – at least not from my vantage point. Again, there are lots of people who remain married for the sake of remaining married, but they’re not in marriages that honor God. Additionally, I still have not found, in the Word, where that prep time aligns with what we’ve been instructed to do as Believers. By all appearances, we have adopted a process the world uses and we rely on it to give us one-up on those who don’t through the process. If man has to intervene in order for a marriage to be successful, then what role does God play? It’s our hearts that have to be well-planted in the Lord, not our bodies in a seat with a counselor going through multiple sessions outlining what marriage should look like. There are countless numbers of people in general who go through the motions of spirituality without depth in Christ. So the same could go for a couple who goes through pre-marital counseling. You can lead a horse…

        • Sara M Reply

          In response to your second reply, Cathy, I would say that you are correct in saying that long prep time and counseling will not ensure a godly, healthy, happy marriage. BUT that said, please don’t discount the value of thoughtfully making a decision about marriage and going through pre-marital counseling. The OT and NT is quite clear that seeking wise counsel and not making hasty decisions is a very good thing to do. It also tells us that our hearts are full of wickedness and that feelings cannot always be trusted and often deceive us. Additionally, I would say there is a very good reason why you have not found places in the Bible that directly speak of a long prep time before marriage – because in the biblical culture the parents arranged the marriages!

    • Sara M Reply

      Cathy, I think the problem is the way you are looking at this. The Bible does not present the idea that there is some specific individual out there that is THE person created for you to marry, that you must somehow try to find. My pastor once said, whomever you ended up marrying IS the person you were meant to marry. Don’t second-guess it. You cannot “miss” God’s will. You can make poor decisions (and many do in the area of marriage), but you cannot fall out of God’s will and “oops” marry the “wrong” person. Whoever you marry IS the right person and is the person that you have chosen to covenant with. That doesn’t mean you marriage will automatically work out (see above article!), but it does mean that you must do all that you can to uphold your vow to the person you chose to enter into a covenant with. And I wouldn’t really agree with your interpretation of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth purposefully put herself right in front of Boaz because her mother-in-law decided that he would be a wise and good match for her. She did not “follow her heart” and feelings and such, but rather obeyed her mother-in-law out of obedience to God. And Boaz also (although he certainly may have been attracted to Ruth) was also living in obedience to the law of the kinsman-reedemer when his relative would not step up to the plate to marry Ruth.

  36. SueW Reply

    What you are speaking of is sanctification. God’s purpose in our lives is our sanctification, which is the process of making us like Him. And more often than not He uses suffering to do that. The health and wealth heresy says all God cares about is that we are wealthy and healthy. That is a huge lie being perpetrated widely in our culture. God doesn’t really care if we have wealth or good health. He cares that we be made holy like He is holy and be made fit for Heaven.

  37. Mistylane Reply

    Although I agree with your basic point, I’m dismayed that you chose to present it in your way as your idea instead of using the scriptures as your guide. 1 Timothy 3:16, 17 makes clear the scriptures are what we use to answer these types of questions. christendom has strayed so far from them that they aren’t even accustomed to doing this.

    It’s a shameThe Bible has a lot to say about this subject. I wish he would’ve used it more to make his point. King Solomon said in Ecc. 9:11 – I have seen something further under the sun, that the swift do not always win the race, nor do the mighty win the battle, nor do the wise always have the food, nor do the intelligent always have the riches, nor do those with knowledge always have success, because time and unexpected events overtake them all. 12 For man does not know his time. Just as fish are caught in an evil net and birds are caught in a trap, so the sons of men are ensnared in a time of disaster, when it suddenly overtakes them.

    Also Romans 8 makes it clear that being a Christian will not be easy nor will it protect us from all suffering. That is why we are continually told the importance of endurance. “For we know that all creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now. 23 Not only that, but we ourselves also who have the firstfruits, namely, the spirit, yes, we ourselves groan within ourselves while we are earnestly waiting for adoption as sons, the release from our bodies by ransom.”

    The Bible tells us Satan is the ruler of this world (1 john 5:9; John 14:30; 16:11; Rev 12:9) But that in the last days “the good news of The Kingdom” would be preached I. All the earth – the kingdom that Jesus taught us to pray for. If we had all our problems fixed now we would have no need of that Kingdom to come.

    We know in Bible times when they did not have the written word to guide them there were instances of miraculous acts in saving certain ones. But we need not think that was the rule even then. This can be seen by reading Hebrews 11:36 – 39.

    Sorry for the sermon but i wanted the Bible’s words to be included in the discussion

  38. Susan Reply

    God’s will–love one another as I have loved you….all else is detail

  39. Prince In Tinfoil Reply

    Very well written, and enlightening. I know a girl who was living in heartbreak – despite her husbands ignorance. He was clueless. She laid awake at night in tears, “Does this man not love me?” She prayed – and prayed, asking God to work in his heart, “teach this man to love!” She cried. But no answer came except, “Be Patient, Kara.” She struggled, and finally walked away. The man was so broken inside – and with the pieces of a shattered dream, God began building something new in him. I’d love to tell you that she saw this miracle in his heart and embraced it, but that story is yet to be written.

  40. Tonia Reply

    I believe you are right on with this article! Thank you for sharing it! May the Lord continue to guide and bless you and yours with your ministry! 🙂

  41. Keith Roberts Reply

    I somewhat disagree. It must be Satan’s happiest moment when we link evil outcomes to God’s will.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Keith, I appreciate the thought. Although I would have a different opinion. I think the Cross–Satan’s happiest moment–was God’s will.

  42. Theodore Buren Reply

    I have to admit I am not familiar with you, but I appreciate your service to the Kingdom. But I think you may be making an assumption of your own here. You say it was God’s will for John to be exiled, etc. Do you believe that if something occurs, then it must have been God’s will? So the woman who got raped last night? Was that God’s will? Or do you just limit it to what’s in the Bible?

    Was it God’s will for David to commit adultery and then kill her husband? Cain to kill Abel? For man to disobey and be so evil that God decided to send the flood? I know on all of the above God ultimately worked it for good and His glory and victory, but I’ve always seen this kind of doctrine as enormously dangerous: “if it happened, then it was God’s will.” IMHO for what it’s worth, God’s will is rarely done in day to day life. Evil, sin, bad decisions, etc. are all around us and I’m pretty sure a whole lot of it is NOT God’s will. Why are we supposed to pray that His will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven? I think it’s because His will is so often not done here.

    Anyway, like I said I appreciate your service, and would welcome any response if you care to share. In the end we’re brothers in the Lord, and we need to be in unity, so I hope this isn’t coming off as divisive as that’s not my intention. Peace…

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Theodore, Thank you for the kind and thoughtful response. I think I need to write another blog on the phrase “God’s will.” That’s probably where much of our disagreement rests. We use the phrase to mean several different things. I think I’ll post about that soon.

  43. Jim Reply

    Thank you so much for this brief but insightful article.

    We are pilgrims and sojourners here. This world is not our home and as we endeavor to be salt and light in this world we are daily exposed to, and affected by, Adam’s curse. However, these things are permitted by our loving Heavenly Father because He has a plan for us that supercedes this life. There are no guarantees of success as it is defined by the world, for believers. In fact, while God often allows believers varying degress of “worldly” success, He is much more interested in spiritual success and growth. We should and must pray, seek godly counsel, etc., as we make our way through this side of heaven, but in the end, how we make our way will be determined by how and what the Heavenly Father knows will best make us ready for our etermal existence and responsibilties there. Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the “faith” chapter, but it is interesting how many, if not most teachers fail to address those individuals whose faith did NOT deliver them from their earthly afflictions…and yet, there they are, included with the others in the faith chapter. While I would love to be “healthly, wealthy, and wise”, and have the perfect job and the perfect life, I willingly submit to God’s plan for me regardless of what that might mean. Thank you again.

  44. patty Reply

    i’m 30 & when i went through my divorce 3 years ago i thought it messed up everything…i was a christian, i had a relationship with Christ, I believed I married the man I was supposed to, we were together 9 years, I was even attending a Bible College to be taught & equipped for full time ministry… now all of that seems like i was watching someone else’s life, like it wasn’t real to me and during this entire time i felt like i somehow messed up the plan God has for my life because of things that have happened… i haven’t been serving God since my separation started and this was the first time I’ve felt hope in realizing God might not be done with me. like, not just thinking or wondering…but REALLY feeling like i have purpose despite everything.

    Thank you so much for sharing this! i saw this on a friends facebook and i don’t ever click on the things she shares, but i’m so glad i did. I feel hope…i dont know how else to explain it. once again thank you for positive words.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Patty,
      Thank you for the comment. God is not done with you. He’s not done with any of us. Feel free to email me kt@kevinathompson.com I would love to help you in any way I can.

  45. Dale Reply

    Precisely the kind of argument which is leading me down the path of becoming a non believer.

    Whatever happens it will always be God’s will, correct? If you and a thousand others pray for someone’s healing and they succumb, it was God’s will. If they beat the odds it is called a miracle. All the bases are always covered. No matter what horror or miracle happens, believers always have an out which allows them to still believe; it was God’s will.

    So many words above to try to explain something that could be more plainly and sensibly characterised as ” that’s the way it goes sometimes”. You make the best choices based on the best information you can get and move forward. Dust yourself off if it goes wrong and learn something for next time.

    I’m becoming the kind of person that needs something more concrete, than the circular argument you offer, to see God’s hand in my or anyone elses life.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Dale, thanks for the comment. I didn’t write this as an apologetic for God. On that issue I would simply ask: what do you believe about Jesus? Did he teach the truth or a lie? Once that question is answered, we can figure out the rest.

    • Kristi Reply

      I wonder why you think it’s an “out” for believers to say that whatever happens is God’s will. The Bible says that God is sovereign over all things; that he works all things together for good, even things that were meant for evil (like Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery); and that nothing happens without God allowing it. We see in the book of Job that things happen that are bad, but that God has a purpose for allowing them — a purpose that he does not explain to Job. So this essay states only what the Bible does — but it’s a lesson believers need to hear, because so often even Christians think that a sovereign God wouldn’t allow things that are very painful to happen to his people.

      Miracles, when they happen, are glorious to behold — a foretaste of heaven — but that’s not how God operates in our lives on a daily basis. We can still say, with faith, that he is working in our lives no matter what happens. (It’s not a “circular argument,” by the way.)

      I hope and pray, Dale, that your eyes will be opened to see God’s hand in your life. Most people I know who once did but now don’t trust God with their lives lost their faith over the very thing this article addresses — not believing that a God who is both good and powerful would allow certain painful events to occur. It can be hard to understand why God allows great suffering, and how he will use it for good, but speaking as someone who has suffered a lot myself (mentally ill mother committed suicide when I was a child, lots of other stuff), I trust God anyway. It’s not an easy out — the walk of faith is hard. I pray that you will be willing to surrender to the truth that Jesus Christ died (the supreme suffering) for you, too.

    • Heather Hayden Dyche Reply

      Good word that many people need to hear. Too many Christians try to “sell” the gospel as a day in the park where all your dreams come true. It seems to me that too many believers are afraid to say “I don’t know”. I cannot prove God exists, but that isn’t my job, that is HIS. I am not HIS defender, HE is mine. I cannot explain why some get sick and die and others are healed, why some prosper and others do not. I choose. I choose to trust in HIM. I understand those who want answers, explanations, proof, but all the really important things in life, we take on faith. Some put their faith in God or some other deity, others in science, others in themselves or friends or family, but we all put our faith somewhere. The sin in the garden wasn’t eating a piece of fruit, it was Eve choosing to rely on her own ability, judgment, knowledge, understanding rather than taking God at HIS word and trusting HIM. This is the challenge we face everyday. We base our assessment of good and bad mostly on our feelings – does this make me feel good or bad? – rather than what is best for us in the long run. People in general tend to be very short sighted; God is NOT! HIS eye has always been on eternity. And every day I have to make the choice to trust HIM with my eternity. That is faith; it is choosing HIM over my own understanding, my own ability to make sense of it all, my own judgment on what would be best. It is choosing to trust, even when I don’t know.

      • Ann Gee Reply

        Your comments really helped me in a moment of weakness in wanting to know all the answers to a certain situation. Thank you!

  46. Caleb Reply

    I was reading 2 Timothy this week and I realized that Paul called Timothy to make right choices but warned him that those choices would lead to suffering. Thanks for reminding me of this Kevin, it’s helpful to put this into perspective.

  47. Chris Reply

    Yes, following God does not guarantee a life of ease. In fact, it can bring persecution (active or passive). Yes, Jesus came to earth to die. Where do we learn that it was God’s will for John to be exiled and Paul to be jailed? I haven’t heard that before. Couldn’t those actions be the result of evil in the world rather than God’s directive?

  48. Marianne Fusco Reply

    Wow, I’m not so much a baby Christian anymore…more like a toddler Christian!!! Lol. So I learned a whole lot here today!!! Very very interesting!! I couldn’t stop reading! I don’t even know if its a verse but I read somewhere that God doesn’t necessarily want us to be “happy”, just “holy”!!! That’s all I got!! But I loved “Lang” comments about focusing on the ONE who calms the storm!!! Also, Kevin may I email you as it relates to my marriage? Thank you for this entire message/lesson for me! Excellent !! IJN, Marianne

  49. jenni ho-huan Reply

    So glad u wrote this. Almost all of us struggle with this at some point…and it shows what we truly believe, or long to believe.. this subject is very much at the back of my mind when i wrote this post: http://churchlife-resources.org/jenni-blog/paul-rome/

  50. Ray Kyte (UK) Reply

    When I can convince myself that the bible is something other than a fairy story written by men/women, with the best of intentions, then maybe I can give credence to such as your good self .

  51. Ann Reply

    Americans in heaven

    by John Fischer
    There is a very common notion among Christians and churches in America that wealth is a blessing from God. I would be more inclined to say that wealth is much more of a responsibility than it is a blessing.

    Looking at his disciples, [Jesus] said:

    “Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
    Blessed are you who hunger now,
    for you will be satisfied.
    Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh.
    Blessed are you when people hate you,
    when they exclude you and insult you
    and reject your name as evil,
    because of the Son of Man.
    “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

    “But woe to you who are rich,
    for you have already received your comfort.
    Woe to you who are well fed now,
    for you will go hungry.
    Woe to you who laugh now,
    for you will mourn and weep.
    Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
    for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. (Luke 6:20-26)

    In all the sermons I have heard and books I have read on the Sermon on the Mount, or what is commonly called the Beatitudes, all of them have come from the Gospel of Matthew. Indeed, it was some time even as a student of the Bible, before I discovered there was another version of the Beatitudes in the Gospel of Luke that is noticeably different. The difference is most clearly seen in its lack of spiritual application. In Matthew, it is the poor in spirit and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness who are blessed. In Luke it is just the poor and the hungry who are blessed. Period. And not only that, there are curses placed on the rich and the well-fed. Is it any wonder that growing up in America I would hear the spiritualized version only. It’s as if Jesus never said the Luke version, or Luke forgot to put the spiritual part in because the Matthew version is what He really meant.

    Find me one pastor in America with the guts to teach “woe to the rich” in his/her congregation and you’ll find someone out of a job.

    I’m a pastor in America, and of course I’m going to choose the Matthew version. After all, I’ve got two to choose from; might as well choose the easier one. Except that if this is the word of God, then both of these accounts are true, and there is something we need to learn from both of them. Luke didn’t just slip up. The Spirit of God compelled him to write this, which should compel us to figure out why. Most likely, Jesus gave it both ways at different times or we wouldn’t have two versions.

    The Luke version goes over well in third world countries, but not here in America. Why? Because here in America, we believe the opposite, that wealth is a blessing from God. Unfortunately you would have a big argument about that from Jesus. Jesus said it was harder for the rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than anybody. Something about passing through the eye of a needle… That doesn’t sound like a blessing to me. And what about the rich young ruler whose possessions were too much to part with in order to follow Jesus? Jesus let him go. We would have probably adjusted the requirements a bit just to get this guy on the discipleship board. He could have funded the whole thing.

    These are hard words to swallow, but they are not condemnatory; I would hold that they are simply fact. Jesus is not condemning the rich; He’s only being honest about how hard it is going to be for them to keep the right perspective. Jesus said these things not because he hates rich people, but because He knows that it is through our need and our poverty of soul that we find God. A rich man is deluded by his wealth into not realizing his real need.

    Jesus literally means the poor are blessed because they get it faster than anyone. Just like the passage above from Luke, it is the poor and hungry who are blessed, and conversely, the rich who are not. They don’t get it because their stomachs are full. It’s not the “spiritual merit” of the poor that’s being talked about, but their ability to see and understand the real truth about their situation.

    Way before wealth is anything close to a blessing, biblically speaking, it is a responsibility. If it’s a blessing, then we can Praise God and use it up on ourselves. If it is a responsibility, then we have an obligation to go before God and find out how to use our wealth for His kingdom. If America is the wealthiest nation in the world, then we must conclude that it is harder for Americans to enter the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.

    But right after Jesus made that comment, the disciples immediately said, well then, it’s going to be impossible for anyone (especially those from the wealthiest nation in the world) to get into heaven. To which Jesus thankfully replied that with God all things are possible.

    Yes, even Americans can get into heaven.

    Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:8-9)

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Ann, the quote from Proverbs is the verse I most often use in baby dedications. It’s a great prayer.

  52. Alan Wilson Reply

    I thought what you said was Biblical correct. A verse that people often misuse regarding God intentions for their lives is Romans 8:28, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. People read into this verse things God never intended. I think the good that Gods is referring to in this verse is our transformation into the image of His son Jesus. .The joys and pain, the up and downs, the hope and despair that touch all our lives is working towards the goal of maturing us into the image of Jesus, and this is the lens we should view God’s dealings with us

  53. Mango Reply

    Kevin. The evidence that you mentioned, is not evidence. It is incorrect to say that because we exist (the people I know – as you wrote) is evidence for the existence of God or Jesus. Just because we exist, does not automatically imply that God exists too or vice versa. It is a fallacy (post hoc ergo propter hoc). If we really have to bring evidence to the table, then we definitely have more evidence, confirmatory and refutable, for the theory of evolution than for the existence of God. Besides, someone else from a difference religion could say exactly the same things you say, provide their “evidence”, which in their mind is “factual evidence” and believe in a different God than your God. Just by the laws of probability, one of you must be wrong, which is it though? Anyways, set aside the “evidence”, I just find it highly prepotent to base an argument upon a series of a assumptions and conclude that that is the truth. The only argument you can make, or anyone for that matter, which I hope you won’t make, is that you have faith in the existence of God. Faith does not require evidence, insecurity does. You wrote “the most important things in life cannot be totally verified at this moment, yet the decisions we make on those things define everything about us.”, what are these decisions and what exactly cannot be verified?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Mango, by evidence I meant the world that we experience, the knowledge of myself, etc. Looking at everything that is, the story of Jesus makes the most sense to me. I’m intrigued at why you avoided my question about Jesus and instead asked your own questions.

  54. Nikki Reply

    This spoke volumes to me. In 2008 we packed up our kids and moved to KY to be fulltime missionaries at a Christian boarding school that ministers to children and teens from around the world. It was a difficult transition for us. Then 4 years later we moved back home to help care for our aging parents. That was an even harder transition, especially for our teenage daughter. We have battled serious depression, unemployment and several illnesses over the last two years. We even questioned if we heard God correctly when He told us to go and especially when He told us to come back. We have faltered in our faith but He has not once faltered! Things are much better now but still difficult at times. But we will not stop seeking God in every aspect of our lives. We may never see the big picture and that’s okay. He never did promise us that life would be easy, just that He would be there for us if we just trust Him. That has been a hard thing for me to learn to do but I am getting there.

  55. Rich Reply

    I disagree. The Israelites were in exile for 70 years as result of their own choices. That is God’s permissive will. His perfect will, however, was something entirely different. He didn’t want them in exile, He wanted the best for them. Their choices, as a result of the free will God has given all of us, landed them in exile, not because that was God’s plan all along.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Rich, thanks for the comment. I agree Israel was fully responsible for their bad decisions. But I also think God is the one who allowed them to go into exile. I also believe God knew and allowed Israel to fail, in part, so we would recognize our complete inability and total need for Jesus.

  56. ginger Reply

    A very well written article. I wish I had this to read 12 years ago when I was walking through a very dark valley. BUT GOD- He still brought me through even though in the middle of it I struggled to understand and see Him in the darkness. He never left my side. I think in following that same thought, we often get accused of being out of God’s will if bad things do happen to us. Other Christians are so quick to make assumptions and be like Job’s comforters accusing others of having calamity because they must not have been listening to God or following His will. How easy it is to perpetuate the misconception of God’s will that you have so eloquently written about by the statements we make to others in their time of need. I think we need to understand more clearly what you have written about and then apply that to the way we come alongside others who are walking through dark times. We would more accurately portray God’s love and grace if we would do so!

  57. CKDub Reply

    Excellent blog. We do make dangerous assumptions about the will of God. We also forget that people have free will, too, and they exercise their choice to submit to God’s goodness and will or not. I truly believe that sometimes we are led to relationships, jobs, circumstances that are completely God’s will. But sometimes, people involved in these relationships, jobs, circumstances choose NOT to submit to the will of God, and it can look like we have misinterpreted His will. A marriage may have been the will of God, but each spouse still has to CHOOSE the marriage. A job may have been a blessing and a great fit, but bosses still have to CHOOSE to be moral and ethical. A person may finally take a long drive to reconcile with a relative, but other drivers still have to CHOOSE to not drink and drive. In the midst of questioning God’s will, we also have to remember that He gave people free will, too.

  58. […] A Dangerous Assumption About God’s Will:  There is a common assumption regarding God’s wi... solasandsatisfaction.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/445
  59. Jeff Reply

    The only things we are guaranteed in this life as followers of Christ are that we will suffer, our suffering is for our good and God’s glory and that we will be rewarded by our Lord for our suffering more than we can ever imagine. Romans 8:18, 2 Cor 4:17.

  60. Irreligious Reply

    I used to be religious so I understand the worldview, but it really feels so alien to me now. I can’t believe that I used to think the way the others in this section do. I am a very practical but also considerate and conscientious person, and I would never have subscribed to a religion unless I had been raised in one. I believe that religious thinking often leads to harmful decisions and creates dangerous situations for the individual as well as large groups. It promotes illogical thinking and dysfunctional problem-solving skills. Having a conversation with a religious person or even a spiritual one always feels like talking to a cult member because of their magical beliefs. I cannot believe I ever thought like that myself although that was mostly until I was a young adult and didn’t have the freedom to think for myself. Travel, a career in journalism, life experiences, and reading widely forced me to get real and accept religious worldviews for what they were – faulty, tribal, and frankly, very male-centric.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Irreligious, thanks for the comment. I wonder, have you ever read C.S. Lewis or Tim Keller? While I understand having interactions with some religious people which seem cult like, that is not the norm. Read these two men and see what you think.

  61. theperkster Reply

    I find so many people paralyzed because they do not want to make the ‘wrong’ choice and get frustrated when God is silent. Maybe He is giving freedom that there is not always one correct response. I really liked your point on equating success with God’s will. Great message. http://choosetotrust.com/2012/09/gods-will-for-you/

  62. Ravish Thomas Reply

    Great insight…Thanks for this..

  63. Brad B Reply

    You hit the nail on the head!

  64. Don Fishgrab Reply

    Too often in winning souls we are in such a hurry to present the mechanics of how to be saved that we don’t present enough about who God or Christ for the person to have anything to base their faith on. As a result it is not surprising many never go farther and many more later fall away. The author of Hebrews was addressing that very problem.

  65. Steve Reply

    All decisions made by man lead to the glory of God. We need to accept that and trust the outcome to Him alone. Good article.

  66. Hannah Reply

    How does one know if they make the right decision if good outcomes aren’t guaranteed?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Hannah, great question. Some things can be determined by Scripture. With others things, we can’t be sure. We can only do our best and trust God to use whatever we decision we make. I think in many things–who to marry, where to live, what to do–there isn’t necessarily a definite right or wrong.

  67. Whocares Reply

    I don’t think that God is glorified in suffering. How are people supposed to want to come to worship any deity that leaves you in misery in order to appear benevolent in his “mercy”? I don’t understand this nonsense. If you do what he would have you do, why should you experience misery as well? So much for this “abundant” life concept. I’m sure that Lot was just happy as a pig in mud with his new children and new success and new everything and never lamented the loss of his other kids, or the pain and suffering of the boils. All to make your god look good. You people are pretty gullible if you think he’s going to make up for it all in the end.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Whocares, thanks for reading and commenting. Jesus would have a different take than you.

  68. Greg Reply

    There is a great distinction that can be made between wisdom and common sense. I completely disagree with the author’s premise of uncertainty in life. The Spirit of God is not setting us up to be blind-sided by life and looking to see how we’re going to handle it. That’s contrary to MUCH of the confidence we have in Him. While there will be many who reject us and the gospel, even to the point of persecution, we will always rise above and be blessed beyond. That is the message of John on the Isle of Patmos, which led to the Revelation, the cross WITH the resurrection three days later, and the fruitfulness that Paul experienced throughout his time in jail. All were blessed IN THIS LIFE, AND in eternity.

    We serve a Living God who speaks today and Who dynamically leads by His Spirit. We don’t just serve an idea of God, good teaching, doctrine or concepts. He is alive and we can have a dynamic relationship with Him.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Greg, I agree we can have a dynamic relationship with Him. I do not believe that guarantees unlimited blessings in this life. If you doubt in uncertainty in life go spend a week in a Labor and Delivery wing of a hospital. Watch most leave with a healthy child, but many leave with no child or a child who is sick. For God there is no uncertainty in this world, but for us there is plenty. Ask Job.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Greg, I agree we have confidence in Him and can have a dynamic relationship with Him. However, we won’t always rise above and be blessed in this life. Our hope isn’t even in this life. Much of the time we experience blessing in this life, but sometimes we don’t.

  69. Sunny Reply

    When we let go of attachment to a specific outcome then we are able to weather the storms, endure the circumstances, find glimpses of grace in every day. I personally do not believe that God meddles in our human affairs. Loves us, offers grace, heals our wounded souls — certainly. But I can’t imagine God ensuring that our jobs are secure or that a relationship goes well when millions of innocent people are suffering the effects of drought and hunger and violence even though they pray and seek God’s help. We live. We suffer at times. We find joy at times. God welcomes our souls back in the end. Why do we need more assurance than that?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Sunny, thanks for the reply. I do, however, believe in a God who is highly involved in our lives.

  70. Henry Vere Reply

    So in other words we’re all screwed and there’s nothing we can do about it!

  71. […] A Dangerous Assumption About God’s Will – Here’s an interesting little post from K... steven-tran.com/2014/02/good-reads-27th-feb-2014ad
  72. Jeff Hale, Ph.D. (@jrhale) Reply

    Well said. Thanks for an insightful article.

  73. Kimberly Shea Reply

    Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.

  74. melodie81 Reply

    Thanks, great post 🙂

  75. renee clifton Reply

    That was absolutely incredible. Thank you

  76. Amirhesa Reply

    Wow.. This is just the perfect reminder! Obedience is something done out of love to the Master. We sometimes obey just because of the results we wanted or the promises God has given. Oh yes, nothing’s wrong about it. But I believe, real obedience is something done because of LOVE. And when it’s done that way, there are no disappointments, frustrations and discouragements, no matter how worst the outcomes maybe.

    Thanks for this post. 😀 The Lord bless your ministry more..

  77. Lisa mills Reply

    This is so good! Jeremiah 29:11 was the verse that my son used as he was fighting brain cancer last year. During the hardest times of pain and sickness he would claim this verse and a peace would come over him. He knew no matter the outcome of his cancer God was using it for his good. Being at St Jude was an amazing experience and there were so many testimonies of trusting Gods will and giving all control over to Him!! We learned that there were blessings everyday and that some came through pain and some came from healing and even some from the death of a child. God is in control and is using EVERYTHING together for our good! Thank you for this often reminder!!

  78. Hapi Reply

    Amen. Godly perspective . . . I’d reminded the movie Facing the Giants: whether we lose or win. Praise God!

  79. dean Reply

    So here’s the big question then… If God is going to do what He is going to do, then why do we even need to pray about trials, other than as a matter of just communicating with God?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Dean, Great question. I would say we pray because God told us to and he also showed us that our prayers will influence situations. Of course I would agree with others who say that even the desire to pray is God given.

  80. Tesney Davis Reply

    THANK YOU! I needed this today. We adopted our son from a Russian institution. He has Down syndrome. He is the hardest best thing God has ever done through us. Life is NOT easy now though. It feels like we made the wrong decision at times. I needed this reminder today.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Tesney, Thanks for the comment. If you looked at other posts on the blog you saw that we have a daughter with Down syndrome. God bless.

  81. Cheri Reply

    I agree, but disagree. I don’t believe it is ever God’s will for us to suffer. Evidence being the blessing he placed on Adam’s life at creation. He blessed him, not cursed him. That was brought about at the fall. We live in a fallen world(an overused phrase, I acknowledge). God does not leave us in the world’s mess, thankfully. He walks us through it. But, to say God intends us to be cursed with suffering and pain brought about by sin(ours or otherwise) does not line up with His word….in my understanding. We will reap the consequences, of course, but His intention for us at our creation. Just my thoughts. Appreciate the article though.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Thanks Cheri. I would struggle with the interchange of the words curse with suffering. While suffering might be a result of the curse, God can now use it from tremendous good. As a matter of fact, it seems as though suffering is a guarantee for a Christian and we can’t experience transformation apart from it–“take up your Cross and follow me.” Thanks for the comments.

  82. Julie Reply

    Thank you for posting this. It’s something we tend to forget. We should also keep in mind that the examples in the Bible, where God has had a specific plan, were plans for his kingdom, for his plan of salvation, not necessarily personal plans for individuals.

  83. MJJohnson Reply

    I agree that it’s dangerous for us to assume if we make good decisions we will succeed. However, I think it’s just as dangerous to assume that everything that happens in life IS God’s will. To assume that God has a Will for the outcome of our lives in any direction is incorrect. I understand that it makes it easier to accept the bad things that happen (murder, rape, cancer, etc) to say God has a reason for everything and even though we don’t know what it is, we just have to trust it’s God’s will. But I just can’t believe it’s Gods will for us to suffer. Good and bad things happen in life and that’s just all there is to it. The only thing the Bible says about God’s will is for us to give thanks, for us to live righteously, for us to do good, and for everyone to have eternal life. No where does it say God wills good or bad things to happen to us. It only describes how he wants us to live our lives.

  84. Jenn Reply

    This is so helpful…thanks. Even as Christians we can be so quick to define success and blessing the very same way that those who don’t know Christ do. Yet, in my own life, it is often in the most difficult times of hardship, suffering…and yes, even in my own sin and weakness, that Christ does His best work in my life. It is because of David’s sin that we as believers now have the beautiful words recorded in Psalm 32 and 51. God works ALL things together for our good. We are not guaranteed smooth sailing in this life but we are promised that “He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it.” SO very thankful for this hope.

  85. Melodie VanderWal Reply

    Could you show me please, where it was God’s will for Paul to be imprisoned?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Melodie, Consider Acts 21. The people try to persuade Paul from going to Jerusalem after a man gives a prophecy that Paul will be imprisoned there. Paul says he is willing to be imprisoned or even die for Jesus and said in verse 14 “Let the will of the Lord be done.” That’s just one example but it shows that Paul could see imprisonment or death as the will of God.

  86. Trent Hathaway Reply

    This is so true! My wife and I have six children. Months ago, we began asking the Lord if we were failing to submit to Him in any way. He convicted us both that the Mirena IUD that we had placed in Betsy after our last precious daughter was born was simply our way of controlling our family size. We had to ask, IS God truly the author of life? If so, and we firmly believe that He is, then we should trust HIM to make the decision on how many children we have. As a result of this conviction, we had the Mirena removed. Betsy believes she got pregnant and lost one child almost immediately. After tears and sad hearts at the thought of losing a child, we were at peace. A couple of months later, were were pregnant again. This time, things progressed quickly and smoothly until around 11 weeks. We went for a sonogram–taking all of our children with us, only to find that the baby had no heartbeat. We cried a lot of tears as a family, but determined in our hearts that we WOULD praise Him, no matter what. Over the next few days, Betsy began bleeding and cramping. By Tuesday of the following week, February 4, 2014, we hit a wall. At 4:45 in the afternoon, she had a massive rush of blood, and almost immediately I was on with 911. She was sent via careflight to Harris Ft. Worth with a low blood pressure of 45/28. By the grace of God alone, she made it to the hospital where, five hours later, she received an emergency DNC and two blood transfusions. In the course of one week, we lost a baby, and I almost lost my wife. So, the question is this–was it God’d will for us to take action in submitting our family size to Him? We have no doubt that it was–He ALWAYS blesses obedience. The immediate outcome was not what we would ever desire, but His grace is sufficient and His power made perfect in our weakness. Our heart cry is the same as Habakkuk in 3:17-19, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls–YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD, I will JOY in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.” Bottom line for us, He IS God, I am not, we will praise him–no matter what.

  87. Jude Reply

    In the end, as in the beginning, it’s all about trusting God. He is the only guarantee that holds fast. He is true, faithful, and full of mercy. We may miss God’s perfect will for us but He never does!

  88. dean Reply

    I agree, but I have a hard time reconciling your answer with Matthew 7:7-8, John 14:14, etc… not arguing, just want to hear your answer.

  89. Mackman Reply

    Am I correct in assuming that you would draw a distinction between God’s “absolute” and “relative” will, as explained by CS Lewis?

    “I believe that all pain is contrary to God’s will, absolutely but not relatively. When I am taking a thorn out of my finger (or a child’s finger) the pain is ‘absolutely’ contrary to my will: i.e. if I could have chosen a situation without pain I would have done so. But I do will what caused pain, relatively to the given situation: i.e. granted the thorn I prefer the pain to leaving the thorn where it is.”

    The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Mackman, When in doubt, turn to Lewis. Ha. Thanks.

      • Mackman Reply

        Just seemed like you were getting a lot of people missing the point of the post, and thought this would help. And yes, Lewis is amazing.

  90. sharonreece Reply

    Great points. We as pastors struggled when people gave us this line that they had done so much for God and He hadn’t done anything for them in return. They completely missed the message of the gospel which is service, sacrifice, giving, suffering for Christ’s sake; “I have been crucified with Christ . . .” This is so contrary to the watered down message so many preachers are giving their congregations.

    Our son went on a hike to avoid a 4 day party his colleagues were having. He disappeared on his hike and was never seen again. In spite of the pain of losing him at age 22, we believe he was pleasing God in every way. We wrote a book to tell the story and call people back to biblical faith.

    I agree with your points wholeheartedly. May more people learn to embrace what it really means to follow Christ.

  91. Martye Reply

    The Apostle Paul is a good example to us of one living in the center of God’s will, yet suffering for it. In I Corinthians 16 he talked about the great and effectual open door for service, but was mindful of the many adversaries that went along with it. While doing God’s will he was beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, forsaken by fellow-believers, and ultimately executed. And then Jesus’ ministry was marked by opposition, death threats, being forsaken by even those closest to Him and crucified – but He constantly said things like, ‘For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting; whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.’ (John 12:49-50). What makes us think that when we walk in God’s will for our lives that it will be any different for us. I think we need to stop reading the latest offerings of Christian authors, and read and absorb the Word of God written by the only absolutely true Author. We need to develop Scriptural sensibilities rather than those of our Western culture.

  92. RT Reply

    Kevin, I appreciate your thoughts and I too have often by troubled and frustrated by what I’d basically label as prosperity gospel: do the right things and God will bless you.

    As some have alluded to in their comments, there’s the related but separate issue of, “so what if things in my life aren’t going well? Am I just supposed to suck it up? Am I supposed to see it as confirmation that I’m doing the right thing because I’m told suffering is part of life?” For example, if someone is in a job they really don’t like – a good job that cares for the needs of others and helps provide for the needs of my family – is it wrong for them to pursue a different job? As I’ve always understood it, and I think you addressed it in response to some of the other comments, there isn’t always a clear “right or wrong” answer. So if a person wants to pursue another career that might be more fulfilling/satisfying, there’s nothing inherently wrong or sinful with that so long as it doesn’t involve the person sinning to get there. At the same time, as you’ve pointed out in your original post, a person has to be realistic and understand that in a world broken by sin, there is not magic fix or silver bullet.

    As one of my seminary professors put it, “Sometimes we just make our sanctified best guess.”

  93. Amy Reply

    It is just as dangerous to comfort yourself with a failure by saying… “It must not be God’s will”. I agree that decsion making can never be evaluated by the basis of outcome. Many good choices have bad results. And while I agree with the condemnation of prosperity gospel, I am uncomfortable with grouping something as complex as covenant marriage in with a good job or a good investment portfolio. What first struck my with the opening paragraph is that the pronouns were all singular. I would say that points to the fact that wise choices were not, in fact, made. What God joins let no man separate. A failed God centered marriage is just that, a failing. It can be forgiven, it can sometimes even be redeemed, but it is never God’s Will.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Amy, I agree we must be careful about using the phrase to excuse poor decision making. My point about marriage is what I see on a regularly basis. While it takes two people to make marriage work, one person can destroy it. One person can make all the great decisions and follow God in choosing a mate and then that mate can destroy the marriage. That was the context of the marriage statement. While many broken marriages are destroyed by two people’s decisions, some are destroyed by one.

  94. Angela Reply

    This was very well put, and something I have thought about myself.

  95. Bill Wanschura Reply

    When I got saved 41 years ago I was studying computer science. I decided to leave school and spend my time learning God’s word because I thought school would distract me. Many of my peers who finished at that time were on the cutting edge of technology and became quite wealthy, whereas I didn’t get back into computers for ten years. I have been married for 37 years, have five grown children, and I have never doubted that I did the right thing. We have not been “successful” as the world sees it, at one point with three children we were even homeless and had to live upstairs at our church. But God has been with us all the way. And now I am still able to teach children in Sunday School, conduct adult Bible studies, and am able to point people to the God of Heaven. And God will stay with us “even to the end of the age.”

  96. Gail Nall Reply

    You have overlooked an important point. God has called us to be holy and set apart. We belong to His kingdom and not to this world. He wants to build with in us His heart. He wants us to become more and more like Jesus. Our lives and the way we live the are to bring glory to God and bring others to Christ.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Gail, thanks for the comment, but how have I overlooked that point? I agree with it.

  97. Gail Nall Reply

    Continued. So the things God brings into our lives are to help us grow in our love for Him and to become more like Jesus. We have been given new life and a relationship with our creator. Our calling is to let Gods light shine with in us to bring others to such a great salvation. We are always blessed to walk with our father.

  98. Gail Nall Reply

    Just very tired of so much talk about being blessed and what we get instead of what Christ has done for us.

  99. Debbie Reply

    As in the Lord’s prayer — Jesus said for God’s Kingdom to come (yes, it’s here because we, His sons and daughters of the Kingdom, are here advancing our Father’s Kingdom), His Will be done On Earth AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. So HIS will is to replicate all that is IN Heaven here (as Christ IS, so ARE we IN THIS World — 1John 4:17. So my point is: we can get pretty much know His Will if :
    1. this is something present in Heaven — health (no sickness in heaven), no lack or suffering in heaven either.
    2. Hence, based on what God has said about health — 1Peter 2:24 (by his stripes, we were healed – a done deal), what He’s said about lack (My God shall supply all your needs according to HIS riches in glory by Christ Jesus -Phil 4:19) or our state of being (we have been made righteous (Romans 5), we can stand in agreement with God, stand on the TRUTH of His Word, have a reality-shift by BELIEVING in our hearts, then CONFESSING / delcaring with our mouth such truths over our lives and situations (Romans 10:9,10), we shall be saved (Greek ‘sozo’ which encompasses the meanings of being saved/redeemed, delivered, restored, protected, made whole, prospered)

    I don’t think finding God’s will for a particular decision means that once you’ve turned down that road, you’re meant to travel down this road, come heaven or hell . Gen. 1:26 says that we were made in the image of God and His likeness, and in John 14:12, we’ve been enabled to do even ‘greater works’ than what Jesus did. Sounds like IF we accept our identity as SONS and DAUGHTERS, joint-heirs with Christ, seated on the right hand of God the Father, then Daddy has surely equipped us with all that we need to live an empowered life where if the Thief, the enemy of our soul (John 10:10) seeks to ‘steal, kill and destroy’ our lives, we live in the Truth that Jesus came to give us LIFE and that in abundance. We’re meant to take our God-given dominion over all the earth now because Jesus reclaimed ‘ALL power is given to Me in heaven and on earth’ (Matt 28:18) the authority which Adam lost when he swallowed and believed the Liar.

    We are no longer of the Adamic line, we are NEW CREATURES ( 2 Cor 5:17) – with God’s DNA, tracing our identity and heritage to God the Father, not Adam. If so, we are no longer bound to the limitations and curse of the fallen world that the natural Adamic man is under. We are in a position to go beyond the current reality of the 2D facts we see in our circumstances — a failing marriage, a poor position in the company, falling sales, a pathetic bank account — and start living from GOD’s REALITY, from HIS truths that with Him, all things are possible, and that and that His grace (His favor, and goodness — even if we feel we don’t deserve it ) is super abundant (Romans 5:17) and comes into our lives like a wave after wave after wave.(John 1:16) exceedingly abundantly (Eph 3:20) It’s not because we start praying more, or DOING more service, good works or anything but just because, as the prodigal son on the pig farm realized and woke up to the fact, “hey, I’m not like the pigs or anybody else here, I’m the son of a king” — once you can make that realization and start walking home to Papa, He will meet you as you stand on His Word, settle it in your heart, then declare it over your life, marriage, finances. Take authority, believe that it’s not all in God’s court. The life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.(Gal 2:20) You’ve got Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory, the Holy Spirit as your helper — you’re an awesome powerhouse that can change the world!. Release that Superman out of the Clark Kent casing that you have and make that difference to yours and the lives of others.

  100. hpuphd (Glenn Hopp) Reply

    At the end of either chapter 17 or 19 of The Screwtape Letters (I forget which), C.S. Lewis suggests that the sort of examples that began this article (decisions about career and marriage) are really things that heaven has no personalized preferences about at all. We tend to think that discerning God’s will is something like pulling a slip of paper out of a fortune cookie, but Lewis sees all of the things we tend to agonize about as just neutral “raw material.” He has Screwtape tell his nephew that if romantic love or a new job brings the patient closer to Hell, then it is good for their devilish purposes (meaning in the reverse logic of the book that it is good if the same things bring someone closer to God) but that heaven really doesn’t care whom we marry or what career we pursue–only that those choices and others be made so as to bring us closer to God. Lewis was a medieval/Renaissance literature professor, and this view is in keeping with the medieval notion of life as a spiritual pilgrimage where things are useful only if they foster our spiritual progress. Since then, of course, over the last five hundred years, Christianity, like all other things, has turned its attention for better or worse toward life in this world as much as (if not more than) the life to come in heaven. The movie Shadowlands shows Lewis giving a speech and trying to make this medieval point–that our sufferings are great to us only because we have sunk roots too deeply into this world and that God is using our pain to get us to recenter on Him. Lewis’s future wife Joy, who has come to hear him speak, interrupts him by finishing one of Lewis’s quotes on this topic (she has heard it so often) and enjoys a laugh at the famous man’s expense by deflating his ego a little. She, who has suffered through a marriage to an alcoholic, knows that such a point has to be made very carefully to anyone enduring a hard time. She seems to think that God brought Christianity into the modern age with this change in our thinking (that how we live here and now–marriage, career, etc.–does matter) and that it might be a little fickle of Him to modernize our faith and then expect us to go back to the thinking of ancient or medieval times. Anyway, however we come down on this, in the film Lewis gets more than enough suffering when he watches Joy die from cancer. He seems to sense uncomfortably then what he was blind to earlier: that one can deliver messages about suffering most readily from the perspective of a comfortable, smoothly running life.

  101. backsofleaves Reply

    Why do you think it was God’s will for Paul to be imprisoned? Surely many things happen that are not God’s will. That language presumes an awful lot.

  102. backsofleaves Reply

    Or perhaps God’s will is not as clear as many people seem to think.

  103. Mark McCree Reply

    brilliant article which I couldn’t agree more with though as an additional point even where suffering does come from bad decision making dwelling on self even self failure is unwise always better to focus on Jesus and let him lead you through your suffering. I say that simply as I know how Satan loves to beat us up over our mistakes yes learn from our mistakes but then take them to Jesus and let him help you through.

  104. Ng Zi Xiang Reply

    Hello and greetings, Mr. Kevin.

    I happened to surf the net and saw this article. I’m not a Christian. But I’d like give my own opinion on it as an outsider.

    I think, it’s the very issue of praying too much, expecting too much and hesitating too much.

    I think the best course of action would be to evaluate what’s been done and to ask ourselves, are our actions working? How do other successful couples have a happy marriage? What do they that differs from others that ensures their success?

    I think, too much time is wasted in prayer and thought, rather than simple action and work. That same amount of time could have been used to work out a problem that’s been plaguing the marriage. That same amount of time could have been used to build a successful career or to improve one’s self whether in mind, body and soul.

    It’s like two students who studies for an exam. One students prays hard and studies hard. While the other student doesn’t even really pray hard (in fact, let’s say he or she neglects his or her prayers completely and uses that extra time to revise or to better one’s study technique.) Though you may say outcomes cannot be completely determined by one’s efforts, chances are, I would say the second student will have better grades than the first student.

    ” God helps those who help themselves.”

    Though, I wouldn’t use that quote myself, its good to keep it in mind.

    Thank you.

  105. Brian Reply

    Or just realize the truth that there is probably no god, and that the world owes us nothing. No one can see the future which is why not matter how hard one works, there may not be a good outcome.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Brian, that is a very legitimate thought. However, it just doesn’t match with my experience of the world. If there is no God, then there is no true right or wrong. Yet something with in me knows that hurting a child is wrong–always wrong. That internal sense of right and wrong tells me something is there.

      • Brian Reply

        One does not need religion to have morals. If one can’t determine right from wrong, then that person lacks empathy, not religion.

        • Gary Reply

          Brian, I think you missed the point of Kevin’s comment.

          If there is no God to establish true right and wrong, then everyone’s sense of morality is simply their opinion. Abusing and killing an “innocent” child is the moral equivalent of eating a Twix bar, because *there is no morality*. No matter how many people band together with similar opinions (i.e. forming a common morality), their collective opinion is still no better or worse than the single person with an opposing view point. Hitler is no better or worse than Mother Teresa, they simply have different opinions.

          Without God, our only “hope” to “enjoy” life is to band together with those of similar opinions and violently oppose those whose opinions differ, not because they are wrong, but because they are different and may seek to impose their opinions on us. Which is what we are seeing to one degree or another in the world around us. Christians seek to convince the world through proselyting, calling on the free-will of the hearer to follow. The secular humanist/atheist crowd seeks to convince the world through legislation (force). Exhibit A being the recent spats over gay marriage and *forcing* Christian florists, bakers and photographers to act contrary to their religious beliefs, i.e. opinions.

  106. Mango Reply

    The story of Jesus make more sense to you than evolution? What question did you ask me?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Mango, it depends on what you mean by evolution–micro or macro. About Jesus, I asked if you think he was wrong. He said he was the only way to know God. Some say that Jesus was a good teacher but not God. I don’t understand how they can call him good and not God. As CS Lewis said, he was either “a lunatic, a liar, or the Lord.”

  107. personman (@personman) Reply

    This article could have been shortened to two words: “It exists.”

  108. Bella Pierce Reply

    Thank you Kevin, this was very timely

  109. Barbara Root Reply

    I learned a long time ago that making all the right choices doesn’t assure a good outcome, there are too many variables involved. But, the outcome wasn’t the issue, the right choice was the issue…I would rather make the “right” choice, follow His will and know that I did all I knew to do if the outcome is not what I would desire, than to have gone into the circumstance with my own will and selfish choices…living this life depending on God is not easy, but it is far worse trying to live it without Him

  110. Cary Reply

    If you are praying about a decision and you are not suppose to look for provision or peace on it as an indicator that it is His will because as it has been said here… an open door or provision doesn’t mean that it is God’s will for you… than how do you know? Are you back to casting lots? Are we to live our lives with no hope of God’s blessing here but only the hope of our salvation? I don’t read that in the Bible… instead it talks about blessings now when we love and service Him and in heaven. So many examples… but a few are the Patriarchs, the Exodus account, Solomon, Naomi and Ruth… We can and should depend on God’s blessing because He tells us we can. While our circumstances cannot always be used as an indicator of our spiritual lives they certainly can sometimes. So, back to the question… how do you determine God’s will for your life?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Great question Cary. A majority of God’s will we never have to debate. The Bible clearly commands many things. As a matter of fact, much of what we see as the minor things of life, God speaks to very clearly. The issues which we see as the major things–what to do, where to live, etc–God doesn’t speak much about. If it’s one of these latter issues, I would pray, seek God, read his word, get wise counsel, and then make the best decision you can. My point was more that the immediate response can’t be a definite sign of success and failure in God’s eyes. For instance, yes Ruth found blessing, but she lost a husband first.

  111. […] http://www.kevinathompson.com/dangerous-assumption-gods-will/ […]... sharlenepark.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/assumptions
  112. Kristen @ Dem Golden Apples Reply

    This is such a great reminder. I wonder how much of this is not just a part of the human condition – we want to believe everything will be great if we obey – but also a more westernized view. Not that those in underdeveloped or third world nations don’t struggle with this, but at least in my experiences they seem to get it more than we do.

  113. chad Reply

    i think you are confusing the different types of “God’s Will.” God does not will for bad things to happen to us… but He does allow them.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Chad, the headline is using the phrase “God’s will” in the way that most people use it with me. Many people believe that if they make great decisions, God will not allow bad things to happen. That simply isn’t true.

  114. Diana Reply

    Thank you. I think this attitude ultimately boils down to works-righteousness. I do things right and win God’s approval. The sign of God’s approval is success. Simple, seductive, and pagan. Thank God that I don’t have to do things right to be His.

  115. Gary Reply

    Great article. Thank you! You are restating basic Calvinist thinking prevalent in the United States in the 1800’s. This thinking still exists among Christians, so the message is still relevant.

    I do take issue with one part of your post. It is “a dangerous assumption about God’s will” that just because something happened (John’s exile, Paul’s incarceration, Jesus’s execution), or didn’t happen, then it must have been God’s will (read “desire”, “intention”, “wish list”). I disagree. We should not confuse what God *allows* with what God *wills*.

    God created an environment where we, his free-willed children, can act. As such, we are subject to the consequences of other people’s actions. The vast majority of the circumstances and choices placed before us are the results of other people’s decisions. God is not Zeus, moving people around on the chess board of life contrary to their own wills.

    How we deal with these circumstances is part of the test of life (rely on God vs. reject Him because life is hard). I think God DOES “will” that we have a fulfilling career, happy marriage and wealth to serve Him. But He wants *more* that we submit to, turn to, rely on, and obey him, regardless of what life throws at us. By reacting in this way, God can help turn even the most difficult and tragic trials to our ultimate advantage. And so I agree with your closing statement: “You obey and leave the outcomes to God.”

    Thanks again!

  116. Cary Reply

    The problem I have with your answer is that it destroys my perception of a “BIG” God. Instead I picture this God you describes as unable or unwilling to tackle the big problems in life. A God who chooses to let the messes happen and depends on the clean up crew at the end of the age. I believe God knows what we struggle with. He knows what is important to us and what will encourage our faith. If we cannot depend on Him to help us with our major issues, than how can we depend on Him at all? We do need to pray, seek, read, get wise counsel… but then for us to just move ahead with the best decision we can without having any reassurance that we are in the will of God… leaves us with a vague hope that we are going in the right direction. Why should we move out in any direction with confidence or joy when we approach our decisions with the faith that proclaims. “I hope I am going in the right direction.” Where is the confidence and courage that Caleb had? He KNEW God would give them the land. Abraham believed that God would do something miraculous so he told his servants that “he and the boy would return to them.” Abraham and descendants were directed where to live, who to marry, how to obey God etc. I want to depend on God directing me that way too. If the promises and blessings of Abraham are ours through faith why should we not expect it? I want the faith to live in confidence that God is leading me. Even Paul, who knew he would die in Rome faced his impending death with complete confidence that it was where God wanted him to go. I do appreciate the fact that you pointed out that our immediate circumstances can’t be a definite sign of success or failure. That is true since we cannot see the end of a thing. Since we live in a fallen world, bad things happen to us. We cannot control others responses to right and wrong. I do understand that. But when praying for guidance I do find myself resisting this notion that we cannot depend on God to give us clear and precise answers to our questions whether minor or major. I don’t read in Scripture about a God who isn’t answering unless there is blatant sin/rebellion going on. And when He does answer in those times… it is usually a punishment/correction to get you back on the right path and humble you. I do appreciate your blog and all the answers here. They have made me think more deeply about this subject and have caused me to examine my own convictions in light of Scripture… that is always a good thing.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Cary, I fully believe that once in heaven, we will look back on this earth and realize that God was far more involved than we ever realized. You and I probably don’t disagree that much.

  117. Brady Turner Reply

    Divorce, of any kind or of any nature, is not in God’s will. He presents the case lightly, but one man and one woman take an oath before God. “It just didn’t work out” means you have given up, God didn’t give up on the marriage.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Brady, If your spouse leaves you and divorces you, you have no choice. That was the example I was using.

      • SeeDub Reply

        I must say, that example is the one I’m really having a hard time with. The idea that God created me to be a helper for one certain man, and it could be His will for that one man to leave me within months is just…a lot for me to take in. And in my case, God has been talking to me about this particular man for years. I’m just having a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea that He’s been talking to me about this man, but His will may be for him to treat me poorly/leave me/etc..

        • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

          SeeDub, I think my main point is that you can’t assume that if you love your husband, he will love you back. You can’t assume if you do everything from your end that your life will end up perfect. While we can debate the “God’s will” thing, we can’t debate that if a man leaves a woman, God has at least allowed it to happen.

  118. Mango Reply

    I mean the theory of evolution

  119. Dan Reply

    Excellent Kevin….thank you!
    PS….is that kind of like what Dr. Dobson means when he says, do what’s right and let the cards fall where they may? In other words, the outcome is not our responsibility nor is it guaranteed…..but just keep doing what is right because we have such gratitude for our Lord and Saviour who out of Love for us let His blood be shed on a cruel cross. Who can know such Love….Jesus, lover of my soul. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” Job 13:15

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Dan, very true. We are responsible for obedience. God is in charge of the outcome.

  120. Jeff Reply

    I can state so many direct PROMISES of God, it would take too long. Obviously, God’s promises are His will. “My God will supply all of your needs, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19). “No plague shall come near your dwelling.” (Psalm 93). “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” I Peter 2:24). These are guarantees that I’ve seen work every time true faith is placed in them. My faith in these is not dependent on someone else’s experience. A dangerous assumption would be to tell people that God doesn’t keep His Word all of the time.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Jeff, not sure what you mean by this. I believe God will supply all our needs. I agree we can live in righteousness. So are you saying that a wife whose husband leaves her has done something wrong? Are you saying a person who dies from cancer doesn’t have enough faith? Help me understand what you mean by these verses.

  121. David Kizito Mutayoba Reply

    This is very correct, we sometimes forget that our Heavenly Father our God have got both sides, He is the only one who decide what to do, we don’t have to LOVE Him expecting to get something from Him but we just Love Him as our Father, weather He will bless me with seen thing or not but my Love to Him will be increasing.

  122. Michelle J Reply

    I’ve found that frequently, when I think the world is falling apart for me, I just have to hold on and soon I will understand the bigger picture.

    Several years ago I was fired from a job by a boss who didn’t like me. The firing was not justifiable at all, but in my state, we can be fired for any reason and I didn’t want to make my coworkers be witnesses against their boss if I tried to fight it. I had never been fired from a job before and was completely horrified. I couldn’t imagine why God would let that happen to me.

    My elderly widowed father, on the other hand, took a turn for the worse health-wise around the same time, and I ended up checking on him every day. Within 2 months, he was hospitalized and passed away. I was able spend time with him in his final months, where I would not have been able to if I had been working full time. Within a week of his funeral I received a job offer and started a new job that paid 40% more than my previous job.

    God can plan things out better than I ever could, so I will keep on trusting him! 😀

    • Ann Gee Reply

      Thank you for sharing this story.

  123. mango Reply

    Kevin, did humans evolve from Adam and Eve or form other species? Also, how old is the human specie?

  124. mango Reply

    Kevin, so did humans evolve from Adam and Eve or from other species? Also, how old is the human specie?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Created by God. Adam and Eve being the first. Not sure how long ago.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Mango, Are you going to answer my question about Jesus? Are his teachings true or false?

  125. blessed Reply

    we are facing a problem of our son with the wrong woman who after 6 months says they are getting married and leaving her son with her mom to raise rather then her. our son has been only allowed to see the boy one time for about 45 minutes, we have ask why he doesn’t see him at all but she says her mother wont let her. .the mother and this girls family have never met us or our son and we only have what she says, our son is not allowed to even put up the woman at her home, she lives with her mother and sister. we have prayed and ask god to intervene in this…. now we are waiting on and trusting in God to answer .at the end of march is when this marriage is suppose to take place I would ask that you help us pray for Gods will to be done in this thank you for listening and praying

  126. […] minds to is that we leave zero room for suffering to be a part of God’s plan for us. This is a... steven-hill.me/tough-text-1
  127. […] 2. A Dangerous Assumption About God’s Will: by Kevin A. Thompson – Thompson says: [R... choseninchrist.com/?p=996
  128. […] And I think this is something so important to realize because, sometimes, the things that happen dev... faithinbuilding.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/gift-of-faith
  129. […] A Dangerous Assumption about the Will of God […]... kevinathompson.com/denial
  130. Amy Hagerup (@amyhagerup) Reply

    My mother who was a saint was just promoted to glory. I am preparing what I am going to say at her funeral and I am going to talk about an idea for “The Sacred Romance” regarding the arrows that come into our lives – arrows meant to drive us away from the One Who loves us so much. This goes right along with your post here. Doing God’s will does not guarantee we won’t have arrows shot at us from the evil one. Blessings, Amy

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Thank you Amy. I am so sorry for your loss but am rejoicing for her. Blessings to you.

  131. […] Why not? (See: A Dangerous Assumption About God’s Will) […]... kevinathompson.com/im-comedian
  132. Sarah N Nsiime Reply

    This is encouraging. It takes away the feeling of guilt when things go wrong even after I have made the right choices.

  133. […] Thinking money will continue to buy happiness after our basic necessities are secured is foolishness... kevinathompson.com/money-can-make-happy
  134. […] It’s a battle of the most gruesome extremes. Several Islamic terrorist groups are competing wi... kevinathompson.com/christian-response-islamic-terrorists
  135. khuramyounus Reply

    Hi brother Kevin! I am Khuram here, originally from Pakistan, a born again, young man of God, age 27, single never married, praying for a wife! I hold B.Sc in Business Management and Postgraduate Diploma in Theological Studies. The reason I am telling you is not to brag but just to introduce myself! Well, coming to the point, I am involved in speaking ministry in Pakistan, UK and USA and also church planting in Pakistan. I read your couple of articles today, one on marriage and one on money! Both makes, sense, wise and mature approach! What I was thinking though, while reading that there are many in Pakistan who do not have enough opportunity like me to read these blessed, moving, and beautiful writings, based on God’s Word! So is it possible we can talk about it to get it translated into Urdu language (it is a Pakistan’s native) language and spread among the people. I feel the tremendous need of good Christian education in Pakistan and for me, its just another project to do by God’s help, grace and support! So, let me know your thoughts. My email is Khurram.fcc@gmail.com Many blessings, Pastor Khuram

  136. […] I think there is a Biblical answer to these strange circumstances. (See: A Dangerous Assumption Abou... kevinathompson.com/lament
  137. […] 1. A Dangerous Assumption About God’s Will […]... kevinathompson.com/top-10-articles-2014
  138. […] A Dangerous Assumption About God’s Will This is a good reminder. […]... afterthoughtsblog.net/2014/03/stupendous-selections-on-sunday-weekly.html
  139. […] “I truly believe God has laid you on my heart.” (See: A Dangerous Assumption About God’s W... kevinathompson.com/stop-evangelizing-starbucks
  140. […] “We have a responsibility to do everything we can to make wise choices and obey God’s comman... cfclife.org/a-dangerous-assumption-about-gods-will-kevin-a-thompson
  141. Matt Finn Reply

    How is God of any value at all? I’m not lucky enough to be an atheist, but wouldn’t it be better if God never existed if He doesn’t care if we are miserable or not?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Matt, I think God cares deeply for us. The point of the article is that he cares more about the transformation of hearts than our current circumstances. He will allow us to experience pain in the moment in order to accomplish the greater good.

  142. […] Yet when many people think they aren’t good enough, they are thinking in terms of other people... kevinathompson.com/when-you-dont-feel-good-enough
  143. mstair Reply

    “At their core, Americans all want the same basic things: a quality education for their children, a good job so they can provide for their families, healthcare and affordable prescription drugs, security during retirement, a strongly equipped military and national security.”
    Ruben Hinojosa (Member of Congress, Texas)
     
    “The prosperity gospel (or the health and wealth gospel) teaches that God desires the material, spiritual, and physical prosperity of his people. To become prosperous, all one has to do is believe, receive, and act upon God’s promises.”
    Scott McKnight
    Individuals following this advice instead of the advice of the Beatitudes will find themselves safely secluded in conformity where persecution cannot find them.”

    Excerpt From: Mike Stair. “Be Attitudinal.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/fBu8y.l

  144. Myra Reply

    Beyond words! Love your article. I am a Sunday School Teacher for teens in our church. And this article helped me a lot! Thanks for sharing. God bless =)

  145. K.L. Reply

    For the past 10 years, I have continually experienced the same repetitive series of adversity and have continually researched the possibilities and applicable Scriptures as to why there seems to be a reoccurring pattern. It is refreshing to hear your comment regarding Jeremiah 29:11. Some translations refer to the Lord’s thoughts towards us not His “plans” for us. Instead, I prefer Jeremiah 39:18. “For your life shall be as a prize to you because you put your trust in Me.” Heaven, and residing with our Savior for eternity, is the prize. While studying for the LSAT, “because” is a structural indicator of how the argument will conclude. Meaning, we need to do something – put our trust in Him … no matter what the outcome may be. For even Jesus said in Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me? Even he questioned God – so did Job – so do we. After one career I returned to college … at 50! I graduated with honors while raising three kids on my own and struggling financially. I was accepted into law school, which is where some of the obstacles had begun. I began working for an attorney who turned out to be a verbally brutal bully. He locked the integrity to pay me on time. The home I rented was owned by an attorney who failed to provide heat and hot water for two and a half months. Prior to making both of these decisions, I prayed, I fasted, I sought counsel, yet I no longer work for the attorney and will be moving. I feel that I made all the right decisions and had been obedient to the Lord, I exercised caution, wisdom, and faith but am left with no reward, which to me was the job and the home. Your article is the only thing that has made sense to me in the past six months. I am so appreciative, and so thankful to God that I feel that I now have a sensible logical answer. Thank you so much for your sensibility. You’ve got a level head on your shoulders with a logical approach to the Scriptures and a sensible faith. You’ve managed to put my self esteem back of the order! : )

    K.M.

  146. […] But I don’t say that as I’m standing in the ICU after the doctor has just pronounced the... kevinathompson.com/everything-does-happen-for-a-reason
  147. mstair Reply

    “Why does God choose to act this way? I believe it is because it removes the certainty that the results can be attributed to human skill alone. It brings into question the mere combination of circumstances, provoking even the most insular unbeliever to question the existence of a guiding force. Maybe (just maybe) there is something meaningful in the decisions and affairs of women and men. For people of faith, it is a loving example of God’s patient and steadfast love for His Creation.”

    Excerpt From: Mike Stair. “The World’s Favorite Bible Verses.” MS Peabooks, 2013. iBooks. https://itun.es/us/8lbRJ.l

  148. […] The confusion comes in what we understand as success and failure. We most often define the two based... kevinathompson.com/sometimes-god-calls-lose
  149. GADEL Reply

    One of the wisest articles I have ever read online. Thank you and God bless you.

  150. Brad Reply

    I have questions…. Some people I know always say God gave them their spouse…… Does God really do this, and if so , why not for the ones who can’t for any number of reasons get one? Saying it is Gods will for some to get married , and others trying ,praying waiting for decades maybe, and not having anyone that is a good match, or doesn’t find them attractive enough , just doesn’t somehow seem right……I know you aren’t supposed to think if I do this or that God will reward me, But until someone has been missing this part of life for many years, and can’t seem to get anywhere with it, while most seem to, Is very frustrating and illogical…..

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Brad, good questions. A few thoughts: I do believe every good gift should be credited to God so it’s fair for a husband/wife to credit God for their spouse. As I’ve written about before, I don’t believe in the idea of a soul mate–one person who completes you. I do think there are many people that one person could be married to and have a very good marriage. I also think we all have areas in which we struggle for whatever reason. For some, it is finding the person they want to marry. The causes can be a variety of things–some specific to the person and others just part of life. I do have great compassion on those who want to have a good marriage and haven’t been able to experience it.

  151. abused by god Reply

    As much as i know 100 percent that god lives, my soul will not strive with god, for this reason, human can abuse their life and that their fault, but when god abuse man life, then man is lost, what is the point of freewill if god leave you to his mistakes.

  152. Sarah Reply

    How do you suffer with Christ?

  153. Sarah Reply

    Great article but some of us have been through more than this and would love to live according to God’s will? How do we know if we are living according to God’s Will?

  154. RAH Reply

    This only made me feel worse. What’s the point then? You are dammed if you do or don’t? What a confusing God. Of course ANY SANE MIND would think if you do all the right things and choose wisely you would experience a great outcome. Why is that bad to expect? I’m tired of all these straws. It seems as if this stuff is made up. When things don’t go right we have to come with a theory to keep the GOD idea in tact. I think what the hell is the use anymore. Just live as best as you can is where I am quickly coming to except after all these years in the faith. God will do what God will do anyhow and my choice doesn’t mean a hill of chicken dump.

    Make a choice if it turns out it does not feel good or is not good simply make another one. I don’t think it is a bad thing to expect or desire a somewhat good and decent life free from a lot of crap.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      The question–do you believe in karma or grace? Both are ways of looking at this world, much of society teaches the former while the Bible teaches the latter.

  155. lynn pabon the elite hero Reply

    Horrible…. Your God is nothing but a dam tyrant.

    Si much for having anything good happen in your life….

    We obey, serve, sacrfice ourselves and for what?

    For more pain and suffering?

    So I cant get anything even though my give and sacrifice so much for god.

    Your god is horrible and evil.

  156. Mike Reply

    I frequently struggle with this. I am good at my job, very good, but there are lengths of time that I receive the minimum, and have minimal success. During these times, my coworkers will have great success, unnaturally great success. It’s as if the Lord is shoving it in my face. It brings me to my knees spiritually. I feel as though God doesn’t really like me that much, and my hopes and goals don’t matter to him at all.
    Growing up, my parents neglected me regularly, and I was a very sad child, but I learned to get by on my own, without help. I didn’t get to enjoy the love parents normally give their kids, especially from my father. So, given that, it’s extremely difficult to attribute the successes in my life to God, and even more difficult to come to him when I am not succeeding.
    I have a wife and children that look to me as the spirtual leader of my house, but I fail constantly. It’s hard to want to wake up every day.

  157. Michael Wall Reply

    I found this site because I was seeking comfort from watching the slow death of a wonderful old dog that I have been God’s custodian of for several years. I feel humbled at the pain that many who have replied to your post have endured. I would like to point out something though . You know the path of a Christian often leads through pain, but it never ever ends there . As others have pointed out, being evil or an unbeliever is no protection from pain. Jesus’s execution ended with a resurrection morning and an ascension. Joseph’s time of slavery ended with him being second ruler of the greatest power of the world at that time. Abraham’s wandering ended with the birth of a son named “Laughter” in his old age. Should I speak of Daniel or David or so many others? Being in God’s will isn’t always a bed of roses ,but it really is the easiest way .

  158. Chris Reply

    I am usually late in seeing articles like this, as this is now just a few days over 3 years ago that you wrote this. I can definitely appreciate the notion that doing the right thing cannot automatically result in a favorable outcome. I am at a place in my life where I feel such a strong pull to leave my “secular” job to go into an official full time vocational capacity in ministry, though I don’t know what exactly that is. 2.5 years ago when God brought me back to himself I told my wife that I needed to yield to this calling in my life and she said that she knew I was “called” from the time that we met. Now I am in a place where multiple things have lined up pointing to this crossroads and we are having difficulty seeing eye to eye. She does such an amazing job of taking care of our home, schooling our kids and all of the other “homemaking” chores that she has chosen for her life…but that is all she ever thinks about; no view of the bigger picture outside of our home. Then when I try to keep her involved in the discussion of what I am feeling about God’s call, she seldom offers any input beyond raising her fears or reasons why “we” aren’t ready.

    The majority of those that I talk to about this seem to say that as a couple there should be agreement on God’s will and decisions…yet, I don’t know that I really find this in the scripture. Abraham’s wife laughed at him, we don’t know much about Issac, Jacob had a few to consort with, many of the prophets had opposition from their spouses…Jesus said that a man must “hate his wife” in comparison to loving him…and we don’t really have any indication as to what the relationship qualities were of any of the New Testament characters.

    Lately, I feel that perhaps in order to follow God in this direction for my life that I might have to make a decision on my own that my wife may not be OK with. I don’t like that idea, but I like the idea of disobeying God even less.

    Any thoughts about this?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      I probably lean more toward agreement as a couple. Is there a possible third way? Most pastors are bi-vocational. Is it possible to keep your job and go into ministry?

      • Chris Reply

        Honestly, I am not sure what the possibility is of keeping my job and going into ministry. As it stands, if I were to keep my job and try to have a ministry that I am as fully dedicated to as I would be my regular job, it would require sacrificing my time away from my wife and 6 kids. What spare time I do have outside of work right now is pretty much dedicated to being at home to help with not much time dedicated to ministry.

        All the time that I spend at work I do so with the attitude of wanting to do it to the best of my ability, as unto the Lord, yet feeling a deep drawing inside to the fact that I was ultimately called 25 years ago to serve God in a full time capacity….only recently am I actually taking steps to obey.

        • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

          Then I would stay out of full-time ministry at this point. You made vows to God about your wife. He allowed you to marry her. I would trust him with the situation you are in.

          • Chris

            Thank you for your thoughts and time. Since finding your site this afternoon I have enjoyed reading many of the pieces that you have published here. Blessings to you.

          • Kevin A. Thompson

            Thank you Chris.

  159. Kyle Wentforth Reply

    All is good in the eyes ( direction )of God .
    Represented now are your direction and understanding from those that require fulfillment.
    Keep on TRUCKIN

  160. Kyle Wentforth Reply

    All is good in the eyes ( direction )of God .
    Represented now are your direction and understanding from those that require fulfillment.
    Keep on TRUCKIN
    BTW..You Can..SUCK UP all admiration for those that will listen .
    Too many sheeo.

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