Learning God’s Plan by Cecil Rose for The Oxford Group
The fascinating experience of getting ‘re-made’ has begun. The interest grows, because the process does not end with us. Other people notice the difference, and God begins to work in them. An area of life around us begins to change.
But how are we to be sure that this will happen? We want good reasons before we take such a plunge.
There is only one way to be sure–by trying. That is true of all life. It is a tremendous experiment. We only know how the water can bear us up when we get our feet off the bottom. We only find what marriage is like by getting married. We test a remedy by taking it. That is what faith means. It does not mean being quite confident beforehand– working up one’s feelings into a state of certainty. It means making the experiment.
There are grounds for the venture. First of all, our need. Life as we have run it ourselves, has not been the kind of success of which we can be proud. It is worth while giving God the chance to run it better. Then there is all that other people say they have found. We take big steps in life on far less recommendation than is available for this step. Beyond all, there is Christ Himself. He lived this life. He lived it on the basis of absolute obedience to and trust in God. He invited us to make the experiment and prove the willingness of God.
We have to start from the place where we happen to be. Sometimes all that we can say, is, `O God, if there is a God, take charge of my life.’ If we mean it, God does take control.
Learning God’s Plan
God has a plan. That is one of the great affirmations of the Christian Faith.
In that plan each of us has a part. The entire world’s troubles and all our own troubles arise from our failure to discover that plan and our part in it. God’s plan is the only one on which either society or my life will work.
When we speak of God’s will we too often think of nothing more than His wish that we should be good and conduct our life on honest and unselfish principles. It does not occur to us that all the detail of our life—what post we take, how we spent this dollar, the use we make of this hour, whom we make friends with, every decision taken on wages or trade policy–are all significant for God, and will, in a really God-controlled life, be consciously related to His purpose for us and the world. Yet the God we see in the Bible is emphatically not the kind of parent who says to His children at the beginning of a day: ‘Now you can go where you want and do what you like so long as you don’t get your feet wet and do come back in time for dinner.’ God has a more positive program for us and a more intimate concern in our lives than that.
It is not only important for Him that Abraham should be a good man, but vital that he should leave his family home in Ur of the Chaldees and go to live in another country. A whole section of God’s plan depends on whether Ananias is prepared to set aside his fear, and pay that call in Straight Street, Damascus. It matters just as much to-day where John Smith, who has handed over his business to God, builds his new factory, or where Mr. and Mrs. Jones decide to live, now that they are letting God use their home. For God is an Architect, planning a building–a building of reconstructed lives and reconstructed society; and the place of every brick is of importance. God is a General directing a campaign–a campaign against evil; and the movement of each soldier is vital to His strategy. He does not want children who will just behave themselves and give him no trouble. He wants willing cooperators who will allow Him to direct their lives in every detail, and to fit them together as a living part of His plan of reconstruction. It is when we are prepared to seek the will of God at this level that we shall find the answer to all our own problems, and the world’s problems as well.