In The Will of God, Leslie D. Weatherhead, clarifies three distinctions of God’s will. One is the intentional will of God; the next is the circumstantial will, and the last is the ultimate will of God. This represents a sort of trinity aspect of God’s will that allows one to potentially better understand the love of God and His response (or seeming lack of one) via our life experiences.
“So we concentrate on the first and think of the will of God in the sense of his ideal intention. To accomplish that, one of the first things we must do is to dissociate from the phrase ‘the will of God’ all that is evil and unpleasant and unhappy.” This makes a great deal of heart sense. Although life is difficult at times, and there is a great deal to learn in going through difficulty, God’s first intention is that we live abundant, full lives of joy.
The Buddhist way of acknowledging suffering, so as to give it room to leave, and the desire to overcome suffering, resonates with this idea. This is not meant to compare the merit of ideologies, but to address the commonalities here. For Buddhists, it is the dharma, or as was explained to me, the phenomena in our lives and how we relate to it in such a way as to help relieve our own suffering. This, at least in part, is a philosophy which implies that the will of God (the way) is not in sync with the idea of our hells being equivalent to God’s heaven.
As I and friends of mine come to terms with a tragic situation, a death of a man loved by our church community, I am reading this book. I felt the urge early this morning to find it and it now seems timely to me… The Will of God is a book that came from my father’s personal library. I awoke thinking about “My Father’s Folder,” and then the thought about this book came to mind, and I at once got up and began to look for it, like a woman looking for a lost coin.
I think there is much more to be gleaned from it, and I will be writing more soon about my thoughts on the understanding conveyed within it. At times like these, a new study of an old idea, such as the facets of God’s will and our best attempts to comprehend them, can be helpful in healing a hurting people in need.