The Lady In the Forest

The young man spotted her just up ahead on a forest trail that veered off to his right. He ran towards her slowing as he approached. Oh, she was tantalizing. The gentle breeze bearing her perfume enchanted his senses. He stopped to gaze in awe. 'What is your name?” he muttered breathlessly. 'You call me God's will,” she said and the melody of her voice drew him onward. He reached out to take her in his arms but she was gone; only the mist of her perfume still wafted in the air, stirring his senses. 'But where is she? I've got to find her.” 'Yooo-hoo!” There she was, on a trail bending to the left. He ran towards her and just as he approached she disappeared again, only to reappear further on in the forest. He ran after her again, certain that if he could lay hold of her, the desires of his heart would be fulfilled. They say someone saw him in those woods fifty years later. Still running, still wanting”"still empty.

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I was once a part of an organization that seemed to really want to know God's will. Often you heard at our director's meetings, 'I've come this year to get a new 'word” from God.” The joke got to be that maybe God wasn't going to give any new 'words” until we started obeying the old ones. Admittedly, it's a wonderful thing to seek God's will. It draws us closer to Him and we get centered in on what He wants for our life. But, I wonder if what we sometimes call the will of God isn't the sum total of all our desires and wishes. I want to be fulfilled, successful and admired. I'm not, so God's will must still be ahead of me. I've got to seek it. In that case, we're not seeking God's will but we're like the fellow in the story above, chasing his forest sweetheart. You want to know God's will? Okay, listen up.

'Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn't cover up bad work.” (The Message, Col. 3:22).

An Old Testament preacher told us what kind of attitude should power us in doing God's will, 'Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might ...” (Ecclesiastes 9:10, New International Version). Make the most of today. Do God's work (whatever your hand finds to do for Him), with all your heart. Whoever gave us the idea that's God's will would always be easy and fulfilling? Probably someone who's never tried to do God's will.

The call of God is exciting; carrying it through can be a pain (and tremendously exciting). Some think God's will is always a charming picnic”"a sweet voyage from happiness to joy to fulfillment.  Hey, it's not about you and me. It's about Him. God's will costs you your life. You're no longer the boss of you and doing the will of the Father becomes more important than anything else. More important than your life even.

Paul heard the Spirit telling him to go to Jerusalem. If he'd asked me I would have told him that wasn't too smart. The lynch mob was on the lookout for him. By an expression of spiritual gifts, churches told him not to go (Acts 21:4). Good godly friends begged him not to go (21:12) but he was so convinced that God was in this that he was willing to give up everything for it. And he spent a couple of years in prison plus being shipwrecked on the way to trial in Rome and having his blood pressure go sky high in confrontations with his Jewish enemies before the local authorities, etc. See there, Paul! You should have listened. He also wrote a good bit of the New Testament, chained up in those prisons. Who knows if he would have had the time to get before God and reflect and pray like that if he'd been free and working with the churches. The churches of that day surely missed his ministry but he's been preaching to the Church for 2000 years now through his Spirit-inspired writing. He's touched billions because he was willing to do God's will, even when it was tough.

I'll let you in on a secret: doing God's will isn't miserable”"most of the time. You get to see Him work in lives, you see Him at work for You and you sense His presence and His approval. What He gives is stronger stuff than fulfillment, praise, and success by this world's standards. You get to hear, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.” That's better than being the President of the World with Bill Gate's money and a king's castle. So, are you chasing the lady or doing God's will today - not someday? ___________________________

Hmmm ... Last Sunday there were more Christians who went to church in China than in all of Europe combined. Rick Warren