In every situation that arises I try to make sure I am in God’s will… that I am doing what God would have me to do. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell, many times I don’t want to do what God wants because it is contrary to what I want, it is contrary to what makes sense. Sometimes it’s even contrary to what appears to be good for me. In those cases I always have the hope that God will bless me for what I have done and make my obedience worth the trouble.
Many times I find however that He does not. Sometimes it appears that my only reward for doing His will is hardship. So yesterday on a particularly bad day that I was having, I was filled with doubt about my course of action over the last couple or three years. Pain and hardship appear to have been my reward for what I believe was following God’s will.
So maybe it wasn’t God’s will? Perhaps God is angry and punishing me for my choices… perhaps they were the wrong choices, maybe I should have spent more time taking care of myself? Maybe my time and money has been wasted. Surely if I had been doing God’s will He would have blessed me by now so that I would know I was on the right path?
But maybe that isn’t the way to measure God’s will. Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Of course we don’t sacrifice burnt offerings anymore, but what exactly does the verse mean? Sacrifice in the time of Hosea was a mindless ritual. A ritual performed with little cost to the giver, a meaningless trinket thrown to God out of habit. A few dollars in the offering plate, a bake sale to raise funds for the church, an afternoon with the church kids at the park? All good things of course, but nothing too costly, risky or difficult.
What of the other side of that verse, “I desire mercy”. Maybe God’s will can be measured another way… maybe it can be measured in suffering eased in another person’s life. Maybe it can be measured by the results in another persons life? Maybe rather than looking back trying to measure God’s blessing on my own life for what I have done, I can look back and wonder what would have happened if I wasn’t there, what turns would someone’s life have taken without my hand, my experience, my strength and my skills? How would things be different if I had not chosen to be merciful?
When I look at things that way, it becomes obvious that I have taken the proper course, that everything I have learned and experienced has worked together to prepare me for the next moment, a moment that could be critical in the life of someone else. And maybe our reward will only be the satisfaction of seeing suffering and hardship averted in another life.
Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography.