Permissive vs Perfect

I think that no matter how old you get there is still a child inside that we have to notice every now and then, today my inner child reminded me of a few things. A friend sent an email to me that started this thought process, she asked me, “What are you doing with your life now?” As I began writing my answer I remembered things I had forgotten were there: When I was about 10 I watched the B&W movie Joan of Arc starring Ingrid Bergman in the title role. As I lay there on my stomach watching as she was tied to a stake and the fire was set that would take her life, I thought it was the most wonderful thing I had ever seen to see someone so willing to give their life for what they believed. Then I watched the Bells of St Mary’s; again with Ingrid Bergman, and Bing Crosby, I was totally impressed, this time with the Nun. I thought the life of sacrifice, of the Nun giving her whole life married to God would be the life I needed to live, no surprise that when I told my Pentecostal Preacher dad that I wanted to be a Nun, he had a few other suggestions and explained that I could live a life of service to God without living in seclusion, that my life would be worth more helping people out in the world. But I digress, there are days I search my heart to see what it is I can do. I used to discuss the subject of God’s Perfect Will vs. God’s Permissive Will and asked how do we know the difference? One of the greatest examples of God’s permissive will is found in the story of Israel’s desire to have a king (I Samuel 8). The Israelites lost sight of the fact that God was their king and they demanded an earthly king. They wanted to be like their neighbors and have a courageous man to lead them into battle. At first God resisted, stating the obvious drawbacks: a king would force them into servitude, take their best livestock, crops, and even children. But the Israelites were determined. So God relented, he gave in and allowed them to have a king. Their numerous years of pain and suffering from this decision are chronicled in the next 150 pages of the Bible. God’s permissive will is most easily understood when we first discuss God’s perfect will. I believe that God has a perfect plan for your life and my life. He’s omniscient and caring, he knows what is best for us and has planned accordingly. We discover his perfect plan by seeking Him through his Word, His Spirit, and His people. Unfortunately, in our flesh we often pursue a plan that is different from God’s perfect plan so we earnestly pray and we are persistent and God gives us our desire (even though it is probably not in our best interest). How does this apply to our lives? It applies to relationships, careers, family decisions, how we handle our finances, and even to our physical health. At this point in my life, and if you have made choices that you aren’t happy with, we have to carry on, so we should turn it all over to God and ask Him to take the rags of our life and make a beautiful garment of Praise!

I am sure my two wonderful children are happy I opted out of the Nun option!


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