The Frustrated Will

Chris Bilauca

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but the Lord directs his path.
Proverbs 19.21

A cursory glance at our own mental lives will reveal countless instances of plans we had, ideas we wanted to pursue, but didn’t. We shouldn’t see this as a failure – indeed for most people it would in fact be impossible to physically accomplish all that is in our mind to do because the realization of one plan would rule out others, not to mention the restrictions imposed by our limited time, resources, and energy. We have many plans. When our plans are frustrated, we can either be so ourselves, moping about and allowing our disappointment to dishearten us, or we can acknowledge that One higher than us is directing our path. The former is a self-willed, self-directed, and self-supplicated life, where my will is what ultimately matters, whereas the latter is God-willed, God-directed, and God-provisioned life. Will I believe that God is in control, and take what comes in stride with my faith that He controls all things, or will my pride overrule His reign and supremacy in my own heart? From the smallest details, He is present. I had planned to get to the supermarket by 5:20pm, but I got stuck in stupid traffic and only made it at 5:30pm. Great, now my evening schedule is shifted by 10 minutes. My attitude whilst *patiently* waiting for traffic, my disposition as I walk into the supermarket 10 minutes late – the face people see as I’m tossing items into my cart – all reflect whether I’m allowing God’s sovereignty to rule in my heart, or my own made-up agenda. It really does seem silly when you break it down like this, how our own infinitesimal plans inherit such strong attention and focus, and as a result how disheartened we get when they’re frustrated. It’s not because what we had to do was so critically important, but because we tried, and failed. Our will was frustrated, and so in turn we have experienced loss. It is this very sore spot in our heart on which Christ lays siege. Our will is the very thing he must conquer and take captive. In His Kingdom, He reigns. If we want to take part in it, we must conform to His dominion. If I am a patient on the doctor’s operating table, I have signed my life over to his hands. I do not get to suggest where the scalpel cuts, or what gets removed. Our will dies in His Kingdom, but this death leads His life. He now directs, He how leads, and He now provides. Up to now it’s still been His provision that’s kept us – from the breath in our lungs to the blood pumping through our veins, to having enough food on the table to sustain us – but now we acknowledge His provision. From the small to the great, we begin to consciously depend on it. Instead of initiating our own direction, we start to actively look to Him. It’s in this conquering of our will that He begins to take rule. And so in our most basic pain of a frustrated will, we’re actually standing at the threshold of a gateway to true freedom in His Kingdom. When we gain humble eyes to see this, we echo the words spoken at Bethel:

Surely God is in this place, and I did not know it.
Genesis 28.16


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