Our Relationship With God’s Will

     The Problem:
We awaken within the physical world with no
road map or rulebook that will offer guidance for understanding what we are experiencing.  Since the dawn of civilization there were people who enjoyed material wealth and power and others who were willing to struggle, manipulate or destroy in order to gain for themselves this coveted experience.  As a result, civilizations rose to their “golden ages” and fell.  Most ancient philosophers realized that the external world offered little promise of community if eroding forces could not be controlled.  This realization caused them to look internally.  What is the purpose of this riddle into which each of us has been born?  Who are we, and what are we to do?  Each generation discovered that death awaited all living things. Always there were the seers, visionaries, shamans and medicine men that knew there was more to life than the information being received through their five senses. Some people wrote of their experiences concerning a divine order but most citizens of the planet became fascinated with and compelled to revel in the glittering carnival the material world represented.

     The early struggles: Humanity’s best thinkers and writers could not escape the notion that they were not alone. Initially with their struggles they created the gods as extensions of themselves.  Once thinking evolved from many gods to one God, aside from a few exceptions, he was a male who possessed human emotions, moods, power and a very defined will.  Among the Hebrews, for example, God demanded obedience to laws.  God was thought to offer protection to his people in proportion to their collective obedience.  God’s will was perceived as a system of rewards and punishments, thus God’s will was understood materially.  When believers were successful in conquering their enemies, building their temples and expanding their kingdoms, such events were attributed to their faithfulness.  When people drifted into self-absorption, there were consequences inflicted by God.  Defeats, slavery and the presence of occupational armies were viewed as punishment from God who was displeased.  The fear of God’s abandonment was a strong motivation to remain faithful.

     The present confusion: How should we think about God who did not intervene in the death of Jesus, nor during the Holocaust nor when six-year olds die of leukemia?  If God has the power to intervene and does not, God must be unfair.  God must not hear or care about our concerns.  God must have no feelings about human suffering.  Such a being must be mechanical, impersonal and unknowable.  Such conclusions arise from humanity’s insistence on projecting material expectations and assumptions onto God.  The need to maintain God in a material form inspired the concept that Jesus was God who manifested as a man-god.  This thought was not new.  Hercules was a well-known example.  Such thinking regarding the nature of Jesus created an endless controversy among early Christians.  Was Jesus God incarnate or merely a man who was able to peer beyond the perceived boundaries of the physical world?  Neither thought pattern has enabled the world’s people to draw together into community.

     Understanding the will of God: The divine will is paradox.  We are all hard-wired or destined for spiritual evolution but we are also free to choose the timing of our growth.  God’s mind will never conform to human logic, in spite of the guidance which tradition says comes from Scripture, tradition, reason and experience.  God is exceedingly personal but not in a manner that we can detect through our five senses.  Guidance comes in forms that often threaten and unsettle us.  Jesus taught, “The one who is first will be last.  The one who is the greatest must be the servant of all.”  Those who believe they know do not.  Those who have, have nothing.

     Allowing God’s will to bleed through our perceptions: God meets the needs of the spirit, not the desires of the uninformed personality.  If we implicitly trusted God for the outcome of all things, we would accept what comes to us with gratitude and joyfully flow where the divine currents take us.  Yet, our will knows best.  Our conclusions and judgments are often inspired by our beliefs rather than trust.  We pray for what we want rather than trust a reality our fears have defined.  Our need for eternal salvation often overrides the humble spirit of the trusting child that Jesus taught we must have in order to perceive his Kingdom.  Our need to know the path can easily cancel our recognition of God’s guidance.  How can we deepen our knowledge if our cup is already full?  How can we be open to new insights, if we already know the truth?  In spite of what the Scriptures teach, the confession that we know nothing is the beginning of wisdom. 

      What does knowing God’s will look like: God’s will coincides with little that we have been taught.  God’s will is the same for every human being.  There is nothing specific for any of us, even for people like Elijah, Moses or Jesus.  God’s will manifests when we choose to view every experience as a moment to refine our skills of spirit.   What impacts us harshly is more a matter of our personal interpretation than the content of what stands before us.   What disappoints us has more to do with our expectations than the reality of what is happening.  Our extreme successes may not be blessings as we suspect but tests for our tendencies for greed, self-indulgence and the misuse of power.  Everything we need to succeed is present within the context of where we find ourselves.  We are perfect for what we came into physical form to accomplish.  The only quality that appears to be required of us is that we adapt creatively to every barrier that confronts us.  This way we learn to enjoy the adventure as it comes.  We discover our purpose and derive meaning from our experiences by trusting where the flow of life takes us.

     A Change in how we perceive God is required: God does not need to employ us to achieve a successful unfolding of creation.  God does not require worship, sacrifice or adoration.  God needs nothing from us, not even our obedience.  This world is God’s gift to us.  Our experience here is earth school, designed specifically for our growth.  Whether we grow or not is strictly up to us.  What we do neither pleases nor bothers God.  This understanding is against everything we have been taught.  We wanted to be creators and our experiences are the only way such a goal can be achieved.  For example, pain, low-self esteem, frustration and anger are all forms of guidance.  They represent warnings that qualities within our inner world are immature.  We often escape the recognition of this guidance when we hastily cast blame elsewhere for what upsets us.  Perfecting our skills of spirit while in the presence of potential barriers is what we came here to experience.  We are like children being reared in an environment that is like a candy store.  Our repeated failures cannot disappoint God because God knows who we are.  We do not.  We are here to practice our divinity (God’s image) while in the presence of what communicates, “Enjoy the fruits of the material world. Forget this nonsense of a world you cannot feel, taste, smell, see and hear.”   One cannot perfect strength when there is no resistance.  We asked to join God in creation and God has given us that opportunity.  Many, however, turn away sorrowful because they are people who have many possessions, even if they are “born again.”