the weblog of Alan Knox

When God blocks the road…

Posted by on Jun 6, 2007 in blog links, discipleship | 6 comments

A few times on this blog, I’ve discussed knowing God’s will and the different ways that God communicates with us (for example, see “How Does God Communicate?“). Apparently, Paul thought that we could know the will of God: “Walk as children of light… and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8, 10a ESV) and “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:17 ESV)

Matt, at “Kingdom Living“, examines knowing the will of God in his post called “Determining the Will of God“. Specifically, he asks how quickly we should decide that something is not the will of God because of hindrances and suffering. After quoting Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, Matt says:

If we prayed for God to make his will clear and we started down a path that resulted in shipwrecks, floggings, and imprisonment I think many of us, including myself, might quickly abandon ship believing it was a sign from God that he wanted something else from us. Yet Paul kept preaching and teaching. I have known people who have left ministry for far less frustration than this. Many face road blocks and determine it must not be God’s will but obviously that is not always the case. Sometimes he wants us to face those challenges and come out on the other side more dependent on God than ever before.

I have heard others say that they looked for “closed doors” to show them that something is not the will of God. (By the way, Bryan at “Charis Shalom” wrote a post about God overcoming road blocks a few days ago: “Praise for Answered Prayers“.) According to Matt (and Paul?), God may close doors and block roads in order to teach us perseverance.

So, how do we know when God is placing road blocks in our path because that path is not his will? And, how do we know when God is placing road blocks in our path to teach us perseverance?


6 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 6-6-2007

    Alan, thank you for asking this here as well and for the link. I am not sure how to do a trackback but if you know how it might be a good thing to do a trackback from my post to yours. God bless

  2. 6-6-2007

    My first answer is, “As an American Christian, I don’t think we’ll ever know.”

    But then:

    I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:1-2 ESV)

    Looks like transformation, renewal, testing, and discernment to me. Which doesn’t lend itself to a recipe-style program with a DVD and a six-week small group study.

  3. 6-6-2007

    I had God place a roadblock in my path just a few weeks ago, and it was very, very evident. I did not get a letter in the mail that I was supposed to, and found out that it likely will not come before July. This changed my plans a little bit, but not significantly.

    Still, I have to wonder why God had that in His plans. I think the roadblock was meant to teach me a lesson in trusting Him more than anything else. I frequently succumb to a great deal of anxiety, and I know that is because I always place my plans before God instead of praying and asking that His will be done above all. And so I think this was a big lesson that He was/is teaching me.

    Just some personal thoughts on the topic.

  4. 6-6-2007

    Matt,

    Unfortunately, I do not know how to do trackbacks on wordpress. I’m glad that you started this discussion.

    David,

    I think you’re right. We know the will of God as we’re transformed to be more like Christ. And, as you say, this cannot become like Christ through a “to-do” list, so knowing the will of God will not be determined through a “to-do” list either.

    Jake,

    Thank you for sharing about what God is doing in your life. I think we (disciples of Jesus) need to share more about how God is working in our lives. As you said, God often uses road blocks to teach us, not to stop us.

    -Alan

  5. 6-6-2007

    I’m not going to answer the question just yet, but I thought of some biblical examples of God using circumstances to teach us and answering prayers even when they were things that didn’t please Him.

    First, you have Him giving the Israelites a King, in spite of all His warnings and His desire that they serve Him alone.

    Second, you can see how God used their disobedience in not destroying all the Canaanites to continue to train them in warfare.

    There are many others.. but those just came to mind.

    How can we know? Ask Him. He does speak today, directly and indirectly. Listen more. We are followers of Him and He, as our shepherd, has a voice that we can know.

    I also think that we can test the “voices” in our head by measuring it against the standard of scripture, against the standard of God’s character, and by asking others for counsel on what we are hearing.

  6. 6-6-2007

    Bryan,

    I agree. God does speak today and we can hear and understand him. I also agree that we need to test what we hear, because what we hear is not always from God.

    -Alan