The Will of God as a Uniquely Christian Doctrine

The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 15

As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind…

–Isaiah 52:14 (ESV)

Mary will see the apostles flee, but she will hold steady at the foot of the cross. There, she will recognize her son, no matter how disfigured he may be by the spit and the wounds. On the contrary, the wounds that disfigure him make him more worthy of adoration, more lovable to the eyes of this tender mother. And the more they spew curses at him, the greater will be her veneration.

–Jean Pierre de Caussade

Consider what Mary witnessed at the cross. The Jesus she had known as her son for three decades was now beaten beyond recognition. Yet she still recognized him. The bruises and blood stains could not disguise him. This was the same Jesus she had always known. The cross screamed at her: “Give up on this man, there is no hope for him!” But she stayed and watched, her eyes fixed on her son.

This is the perseverance you need if you are going to love the will of God enough to abandon yourself to it. And this is why the way of abandonment is for Christians only. These principles cannot be transferred over to another religion or philosophy of life. Jesus Christ embodied the will of God for us; he made it known in its pure goodness as a will that can be trusted and should be loved. It is this revelation of God’s will that makes it possible to truly abandon ourselves to it. This could never be true of fate, the random operation of the universe, or the possible benevolence of a possible supreme being.

In this life, circumstances will conspire to convince you that “the will of God” is a naïve fantasy, that the universe is senseless, and that evil remains undefeated. It is then that you must remember that Jesus believed that there was something call the will of God, that it was good, and that it was worth doing, at any cost.

The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.