Is this God's will?
Are we supposed to believe that everything that happens on a daily basis, day by day, is God's will and we should say yes to everything?
by Fr. Anthony Bannon, LC | Source:
Q. Dear Fr. Anthony,
As I read the e-mail I just received, I am again reminded of doing God's will. I am always asking myself, “Is this God's will?” I have read many articles that seem to imply that everything that happens in your life, down to the smallest detail, is God's will. Are we supposed to believe that everything that happens on a daily basis, day by day, is God's will and we should say yes to everything? That doesn’t make sense to me. I can think of many things I should say no to. Since we can’t see past even the next minute, how do we know that the decision that is facing us, however small, we should say yes to and know that it is right? What if we said no instead of yes and found out we were wrong. It doesn’t make sense to me that in following God's plan, you would regret doing anything. Regret only means you did something you shouldn’t. We know that God is perfect and so is His timing, so there can be no regret in following His plan. Are we to assume that no matter what we do, in trying to follow His will, that everything will be according to His plan?
A. Dear Kevin,
Let's see if I can shed a little light on your question.
It is not enough to say everything that happens is God's will, and all we have to do is accept it passively. That is more like fatalism. When we ask about God's will in our lives, we are talking not just about what happens to us but also about doing what he wants us to do. God made us free.
So, when we ask about God's will in our lives there are several levels to distinguish between:
• The things that God has done (the family he gave you, your Baptism, etc...) are all God's will and cannot be changed.
• Then we have his commandments, the things he tells us to do or not to do. It is up to us to do them, and if we don't the results are not his direct will but his toleration of our freedom. His will in that case is that we repent, learn a lesson, pick ourselves up and go on, making sure to try not to fail again.
• There are also the things that happen to us that are a result of other people using their liberty in a wrong way, for example if you are robbed. God allows these to happen because otherwise he would have to suppress the other person’s liberty, but they are not things that he does, nor is it his will that they happen, quite the opposite; he gave us his commandments because he didn’t want them to happen.
• There are also those things that we can figure out God's will by looking at the circumstances: if you are a student, it is his will that you study and develop your mind, for example.
• Then there are the things that seem more optional: the choice between two vocations for example (marriage or priesthood). He gives us hints and makes some invitations to us, and what we have to do is figure out what those mean, what he is saying to us, and then have the generosity to do it.
I hope this clears thing up a little. If not, please drop me another note. I will keep you in my prayers.
- Fr Anthony
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