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 Godâ€™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?