One of the most common questions Christians ask in our modern culture is “What is God’s will for me?” “What career? What city? What car?” “What is His will for me so I will be the happiest I can be?”
When we scan the totality of human history, we realize that those types of questions are fairly new. If you were born the son of a fisherman in a small town in the fifth century, you became a fisherman in that small town. You never wrestled with choices about education, where you would live, what you would do, or the myriad of options of cabinets and countertops for your kitchen.
We like the myriad of choices we have now. We like having lots of options, even though research tells us that the overwhelming number of choices hurts us more than it helps us. In the book, The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz articulates that the number of our choices we have is hurting our happiness. He reasons that the more choices someone has, the more likely the person will face either (a) paralysis or (b) regret.
If you search the Scripture for answers to the myriad of choices you face, you won’t find clear answers for all of them. There is no verse that says “It is God’s will that you take this career path.” But you will find some really clear verses about God’s will for your life. Here is one:
Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)
As we approach Thanksgiving, we can know for sure that it is God’s will that we be thankful. We are commanded to be thankful. We may struggle to be thankful for everything, but we can be thankful in everything.
There are a lot of things I am not thankful for in 2020, but by God’s grace, I can still be thankful in the midst of them. Thankful for His grace and forgiveness. Thankful for His good gift of community. Thankful that He meets all our needs. Thankful for a secure future. Thankful for Him.
No matter how challenging and frustrating 2020 has been to us, 2020 cannot take the eternal blessings from us. May we be reminded not to take the eternal God and His blessings for granted. G. K. Chesterton said, “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” According to Chesterton, here are the two options. We can take all the blessings He has given us, including our forgiveness and God Himself with gratitude or we can take them for granted. God’s will is that we will be thankful in everything.