Sermon Summary from Nov 20, “Mysterious Will of God Part II” (Isaiah 9:2; Matthew 11:28-30)
So what am I going to be when I grow up? As a boy in South Dakota going to Roy Rogers and Gene Autry movies, “cowboy” sounded good. I went to engineering school because all my relatives did. Then there was in the Army. Especially when I was in Vietnam, my Mom would say she didn’t raise me to be a soldier, she raised me to be a doctor. She didn’t tell me!
When I was 18, I came home from college and told my Dad I was going to be a preacher. He talked me out of that, fast. (He told Rosemary many times that he thought he’d probably go to Hell for that.) But my favorite aunt knew that I’d have been a terrible pastor had I entered ministry then. She knew it was the will of God that I needed to grow up!
We have a lot of problem figuring out what to do before noon each day let alone our purpose for a lifetime. Last week we talked about why bad things happen to good people. This week about how we live within the will of God. I’m relying on Adam Hamilton’s book, Why? Making Sense of God’s Will.
Hamilton uses the metaphor of a novel. Suppose God’s plan was the completed book and we were to walk through the story for good or for bad? Some believe that, but that takes away free will and makes God, who we claim to be good, responsible for all the harm, disease and mayhem in the world. A second option is that maybe life is like a Table of Contents and we write the pages in between with God stepping in and writing new chapter headings when our free will leads us astray. But because of human interaction all of us would soon be on “Plan B.” Doesn’t seem like a plan at all. Finally, maybe our book looks more like a journal, a blank page, and we and God write our story together, we are co-authors.
God is the great collaborator, the best co-author we can imagine giving us the writing tools and rejoicing in paragraphs we write. We can improve our writing skills by reading great writing. The greatest writings teach us great moral truths and tell background stories we can weave into our writing. Second, we need great mentors. Great writers gather great people around them. John Wesley would call this “Christian Conferencing.” Then we have been given our intellect, reason with which to choose the twists and turns to the plot of our story. Finally, we have been given the Holy Spirit to be our guide and to give us the Power to live out our storyline. And as we write our journal each day, we need to be asking our co-author, “What is the very best story we can together write for today?” and “What is the most loving thing we can do?”
But even then, in the midst of writing our Romance Novel, because of the actions of others or just because of the way the world is, we find ourselves living a Horror Story. We find ourselves in darkness unable to see our way. It’s at that point that we need God to remind us that the chapter we are now walking through is never, never the last chapter! We need to ask once again, “What is the very best story we can together write for as far as I can see?”