Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Will of God (?)

The Will of God (?)
by Steven Thorn

Disclaimer: With the exception of the reprobate "Howard," this note is not directed toward anyone in particular.

It's a common thing for mortals to want to know the will of God, or the will of the gods. Throughout history, some people have consulted oracles, some have consulted bones, and some have consulted the entrails of animals. Others have looked for signs in the stars or the weather.
21st century Christians, as a general rule, don't stargaze or seek out the Oracle of Delphi, but they do have some interesting ways of determining the will of God. Most of the time, you'll hear phrases like, "I just feel the Lord is leading me this way." or "I have a peace about it." or "I've asked the Lord to shut the door if [this action] is not His Will, and He's keeping the door open." Some signs, encouraging or discouraging events, can also contribute to the "discernment" of the Lord's Will.

A few weeks ago, I told my friend Howard* that I felt the Lord was leading him to give me $100 dollars. I said that I had prayed about it for a long time, and God had given me a real peace about it. Furthermore, the Lord hadn't taken the desire away. Aside from a sign in the stars**, this was all the confirmation of God's Will that I needed.
Howard, unfortunately, has decided to live in sin and ignore God's Will. He kept his $100 dollars, and I've since prayed for judgment. He'll get what's coming to him.
At any rate, I clearly didn't get my $100, which leaves me to examine where I went wrong. James, the author of the book of James (in the Bible), might have told me that I didn't get my $100 because I was going to spend it on my own pleasures. But what he didn't know is that I was going to give it to charity. Pwned***, baby.
You might think that I was absurd to ask Howard for $100, and the more I think about the whole situation, the more I realize that I might have been in the wrong. Where did I go wrong?
Well, duh, I should have waited for a sign. Not necessarily in the stars - just a sign.
Many years ago, before most of you were born, I was on my way back home from my tour of Europe (it was customary in that time for young Romans to travel the world after graduating from university) when I came upon a field of hyacinth.
I was so shocked that I let go of the reins and my camel bucked me off its hump and ran away.****

This narrative is quickly getting away from me--suffice to say, the field of hyacinth was surprising because hyacinth begins with "h" and I had been morosely meditating on my lost love: Hannah. This, clearly, was a sign from God, because Hannah begins with "h" and so does hyacinth. I rushed back to Carthage to retrieve my unrequited love - but I was too late, as my beloved Hannah had changed her identity and released a single called "Party in the U.S.A." I was crushed--and perhaps too late, because the will of God was clearly at work somewhere in there.
At that point, the itteh bitteh ninjas committeh arrived to save the day, because it is definitely too late to save this entry.

As a parting shot, I will say that I believe that God has a specific will for all of us. However, I can't always tell the difference between "the Spirit's prompting" and indigestion. For the time being, I'll just stick with the Lord's revealed will in the Bible, which focuses on obeying His commandments. Thanks for watching, kids. Stay in school, don't do drugs, and floss your teeth.

*I changed his name from Brendan to Howard because I didn't want to use his actual name. Wait...oops.

**There's a scene in some book where some character who did something bad is walking around at night, and in the stars he sees something that he thinks is a confirmation of his judgment. The author comments that the someone (who saw the something in the book) was megalomaniacal to think that the heavens themselves would be orchestrated to reveal his fate. This comment might be more helpful if I told you what book it was, but I forgot.

***If you don't know what "pwned" means, I can't help you. By the time I've explained its significance, the original comment will have lost its impact.

****I may have forgotten a few of the details because it was a long time ago, but there was a camel somewhere. He kept trying to poke me in the eye with a needle that he got from a rich man who was trying to get into heaven.