Sunday, November 4, 2007

Is This Farm God's Will for Us?

A subject that comes up, as we look for land, is knowing if a certain place we are looking at is “God’s will for us.” We sometimes pray that God would clearly show us if a certain property is or isn’t His will for us. The last place we looked at was “clearly not God’s will.” But what do we mean when we say that? How do we determine what God’s will is for us in these areas that are non-biblical? Granted, a farm is not God’s will for us if buying it means cheating, lying, or otherwise breaking His commands to get it. Naboth’s vineyard was never God’s will for King Ahab, no matter how good he felt about owning it.

We’ve come from an evangelical church background where determining God’s will in these non-biblical areas of job, housing, moving, etc becomes an exercise in discerning one’s own feelings about a thing. If I feel it is God’s will, than it is (barring any scripture that contridicts my feelings.) Often the scriptural support is found in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” So in this case saying that a particular farm is not God’s will for us means that we did not desire it. It did not meet our standards of what we wanted in a farm.

But is this right? Does God ever desire hard things for us? Sure I want a large farm with fertile soil, beautiful woods, a pond with plenty of life and a rambling farm house recently renovated with central air, a downstairs in-law suite and plenty of room for entertaining. Who wouldn’t? But does that mean that it is only God’s will for me to have the best? Some of my Christian brothers would say, “Yes!” But I wonder. I only have to look at Jesus to see an example of one who truly did delight in the Lord, yet God’s will for Him was hard. “Father, if it be Thy will, let this cup pass from Me.” But it wasn’t the Father’s will, and so He endured the cross for the joy set before Him.

We are moving in more reformed circles now, and I recently heard that the reformed understanding of knowing God’s will is that the Lord only speaks to us through His word as it is illuminated by His Holy Spirit. In other words, it is not correct for me to expect the Lord to tell me if a given property is “His will” for us or not. So what do we ask?

Perhaps a better way to approach a given property is to ask a whole different set of questions: “Can we honor the Lord on this property?” “Can we be a light for Him here?” “Can we be used of the Lord to renovate this property to become the fertile land that He desires to His glory?” “Can we be a light for Him in this neighborhood?” It is certainly easier to look for a place that appeals to our sense of comfort and ease, but we must remember our Lord’s example, “Not My will, but Yours be done.”


At November 4, 2007 5:51 PM , Blogger Ron and Ginny said...

Good to see you again! I was thinking we had lost you. ;-) Yes, discerning God's will is very difficult. That is one of those things I have wondered about before and I have come to the conclusion that I don't want to ever say that, because, unless it is clearly in the scriptures, I don't really know what God's will is, for sure. I think you hit the nail on the head. :-D

At November 6, 2007 1:47 PM , Blogger tc said...

Thanks for your encouragement!

At November 9, 2007 5:05 AM , Anonymous Don said...

Terry, I, too, welcome you back. I grew up in an evangelical church on the other end of the keystone state. I have since been changed in my understanding of God and his relationship to us. I'm not sure about the labels reformed vs. evangelical and what they mean, but I tend to agree with much of what you said. I am trying to match what you just said up against what I have experienced out here.

Last September, my wife & I were shopping for farmland in Nebraska. We were finding plenty of land selling for $3500/acre, which really would have limited our ability to purchase much land. After searching through quite a few properties, we came across a listing for 78 acres of pasture for $1200/acre. We raced out to see the land and it was beautiful -- rolling hills, some trees, a few ponds. We loved it at first sight.

So we went up to the farmstead next to the pasture and talked to the gentleman who lived there, to ask him about the land and what it had been used for. During our conversation with him, he mentioned that he was thinking about selling his house in the Spring! Both Gina & I thought immediately that this must be God's will for us. That this was (or seemed) God providing in a way that we could not have imagined.

Anyway, this is easily the longest comment I have ever left, and is longer than some of my own blog posts. But I felt it was relevant to what you were discussing.

God Bless,


At November 23, 2007 6:11 PM , Blogger deconstructingVenus said...

I know for me it was a case of the first time i set foot on our property, it just FIT. i knew in my bones this is it for us. I could see our lives unfolding here and the prospects of our emerging farm. I even started a blog about it. ;) keep it up!

At December 2, 2007 7:22 PM , Blogger tc said...

This post has been removed by the author.

At December 2, 2007 7:25 PM , Blogger tc said...

Thanks for your comments and encouragement to keep it up! I praise God for His provision of such great sounding places for both of you.

Don, your place sounds just like what we are looking for too! By the way, did you end up buying both the land and the farmstead?

The thought I am dealing with in this post is that God never promises us an easy life. He does promise us persecution and tribulation. Now how does that translate into finding a farm? To me, it means that the Lord may provide the perfect place, or perhaps He wants us to take a place that is not as perfect (strip-mined land or otherwise abused land) and redeem it for His glory. Perhaps He wants us to learn the virtues of doing with less, of hard work, and of learning with our boys construction skills by having us purchase a farmstead that needs a lot of work.

The challenge for us then, is to not confuse "no work needed" with God's provision for us, and this is a challenge because my nature wants the easy way! :-)

At December 21, 2007 5:09 PM , Blogger Garth and Ildi Fout said...

Over the last four years my wife and I have been drawn more to the reformed view of theology. I appreciate your postings (questions) and your openess to the struggle of understanding God's will for your life. Be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. :)


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