When these questions clamor at our hearts we begin to wonder if God is capricious rather than constant, malicious rather than merciful. In times like these, one of the best ways of coming to grips with the great mystery of suffering is to seek to understand God's will. During World War II, when the global community was asking impossible questions while the powers of evil marched through Europe and sailed across the South Pacific shedding blood all along the way, Leslie D. Weatherhead, a British clergyman, preached five sermons on understanding the will of God for the congregation at City Temple in London. These well-reasoned sermons became the classic book The Will of God, which has sold more than 800,000 copies in the subsequent fifty years. Weatherhead helps us "get our thinking right about the will of God."
Weatherhead helps us think about how God's will is related to God's character and ultimate intentions for us. As we learn to think first about who God is and what God desires for us, we can better assess and accept the way God is at work in our own lives.
This classic book now is available in workbook form. Key scripture passages, short paragraphs of biblical background information, and key concepts have been added to root the reader in God's ways. Case studies offer true-to-life situations that focus abstract ideas about God's will on specific circumstances in order to help us practice discerning God's will. (These case studies are much like arithmetic problems. Once you begin to understand a concept, the best way to solidify your learning is to apply the concept several times.)
Personal reflection questions and exercises provide tools for delving more deeply into our own perplexing difficulties and core beliefs. Lastly, worship resources give us an opportunity to honor God with our prayers and commitments as we learn.
Rebecca Laird is a professional writer and editor. She has contributed to 365 More Meditations for Women and 365 Meditations for Mothers of Young Children. She is a licensed minister in the Church of the Nazarene and lives in Madison, New Jersey.
I subscribe to several chat networks of preachers and read the following comments about this book:
Weatherhead's book The Will of God has proven to be one of the most powerful books I've used in Christian Education. I've taught it numerous times and found it to be a ton of fun! Although it has only 5 chapters--which were actually sermons to his congregation about the pain and suffering of WWII---- I can teach this book for weeks!
I usually start off with an introductory class on "my" God opening with the scene from the video of Sister Act where they sing "My God" and then dividing the class into groups to research different passages of scritpure about God. Some read about vindictiveness; others about love; some about jealousy, others about devotion. (I also bring in excerpts from Ana Maria Rizzuto's "Birth of the Living God" and Phillips "Your God is Too Small" . I teach a class on "The Devil Made Me Do It", a class on "What does God Know and When Does God Know It (subtitled: Could Jesus run a pentium ii?) I use an excerpt from George Burns in the video of Oh, God! in the shower scene with the grocery salesman answering questions to talk about miracles and what God knows. Each class spawns another and The Will of God becomes the seminal text by which all the major themes of the faith can be introduced. In almost every class, we can divide into groups and use different passages of scripture to denote different points of view. One of the most hotly debated topics: God changing God's mind (see Jonah and the Syro-Phoenician woman)
Truly a dynamite book! More than you wanted to know, I'm sure, but I love this book!
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