Friday, March 5, 2010


How can we ever know the will of God? Our church body recently voted on a building program. We have several issues – we own two campuses. We were blessed when another church with a few elderly members chose to give us their building, grounds, and bank account several years ago (I have heard it said that this gift was an “albatross around our necks”, so not all labeled it a “blessing”.)

Our initial location is close to downtown, landlocked with no direction to expand. Our congregation has grown – many young families with young children. Even with two services (a traditional and a contemporary), we were no longer able to provide worship space at the old location.

The pastor (correctly, I believe) specified that without 90% approval in our vote, we would not move on in a building campaign. The vote was 70% for, 30% against. Was that God’s will? I have learned not to question God in his wisdom, so I would say He knew what he was doing in that vote. Had the vote been 90%, I would have embraced that also. In other words, I can find peace in resting in letting God handle this situation.

However, that does not mean that I do not look at the situation with blind eyes. So it is with that in view, that I want to express some thoughts.

  • I have observed in the past that some people do not want change. In fact, they see all change as bad. Only the status quo is a comfort to them. I have watched “old-timers” in other congregations drive off new young families because if they become a part of the body, and active, their presence will require “change”. They would rather the church die a slow death, to have their sacred traditions preserved.
  • Some are tied to buildings by sentimental memories – “This is where we were married”. “My children were baptized and married here”. “My parents brought me here when I was a baby.” These thoughts reflect a mind-set that states, “How could you possibly ask me to give up this monument of my family – my families’ money bought and paid for it”. (Notice whose house it has become.)
  • “These are terrible economic times in which to take on a building program. People just don’t have the money for that sort of expense. We are not making our budget now.” This is the dialogue that is heard from much of the 30%. It is interesting to me that what I hear in this is: “They (whoever they are) might ask me to give a little more than my comfort-zone will allow.” I responded to one such remark that God was not asking them to pay for it all. The response was, “No, but they would be out asking me to pledge so much, and I already give to another mission, and have for years.” God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and the wealth in every mine. I do not have to figure out ahead of time how He will build this if He wants it built. The only part for which I am responsible is the part that he lays on my heart to give. For that, I must be obedient lest I miss the blessing He has for me. I will never assume to be God’s messenger and tell someone else how much they should give. That is between them and God. But I also know the current economic times will not hinder Him in providing – in fact, miracles are a great inspiration to His people.

Sometimes writing my thoughts helps me clarify situations. In the past, I have worried and stewed over these same types of situations. I somehow thought I had to figure it all out and make God’s will come about. I likened myself to Joshua and Gideon: “Am I going to have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years just because others are so blind?” However, there is no rest in that attitude, and Jesus promised me rest. At this point in my life it is much easier to say: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done” because I do not believe God is finished. It was a majority that refused to support Joshua and Gideon, not the minority.

Is God in Control?

My sister recently succumbed to her cancer-ridden body, and her spirit soared to a new freedom that was pain-free, pure joy and praise of her creator. How do I know this? My Savior told us that He was going to prepare a place for us. He spoke to a criminal on his right-hand from the cross and stated “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” He appeared to over 500 witnesses after his resurrection from the dead, thus assuring us that he had the power to give us life after death – the hope of every person.

So I believe God has numbered the days of each of us, and that He is ultimately in control. I do not believe he created cancer and disease. Those are the results of the decisions of the first man and woman – to take their destiny into their own hands and ruin the perfection in which they were initially created. Nor do I believe God picks and chooses who will be afflicted. Both believers and non-believers are afflicted alike. What he does promise is that his children will never “walk through the valley of death” by ourselves. He will be there and comfort us – and He did. The peace, that makes no sense in human understanding, under-girded the family.

I can rest in the faith that I will see her, and my parents and grandparents, in that day when the number of my days reach their completion. My God was not taken by surprise, not did he lose control in our lives. Praise be to God, to his Son, my Savior, and to the blessed Holy Spirit, whom He sent to be our Comforter!