In the divine services we often hear about the will of God: we are to align ourselves with the will of God. We are to subject ourselves to the will of God. In the Lord’s Prayer we say, “Your will be done!”
But do we actually know what God wants?
Naturally, Holy Scripture gives us some insight into the will of God, namely that God wants all human beings to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. God wants to grant eternal life to those who see the Son and believe in Him. God does not wish the sinner to die, but rather to repent.
But how do I know what God wants when it comes to my own decisions? When I have a plan, when I have an idea, when I start a project? Do my intentions and actions correspond to the will of God? Often the answer is clear. But at times it really is not. Some say, “Before I begin, I will bring a special offering and pray for the blessing of God.” Others say, “I will simply get started, and if God has something else in mind, He can always stop me.” Still others ask for a sign.
This is all well and good, but it is still too short-sighted.
God expects us, His children, to occupy ourselves with His will. He wants us to pray and think about it, and take the time to discover, “What does the dear God want from me? Why am I child of God? What does God have in mind for me? Do my decisions fit into the scope prescribed by the gospel?
That is not so easy, but just try it sometime: pray sincerely and take the time to reflect. My experience has been that, nine times out of ten, you will indeed recognize the will of God.