Knowing God’s Will by Thomas S. Buchanan

Knowing God’s Will

This is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
—1 John 5:14

A friend once had a roommate who earnestly sought God’s will in all aspects of her life. When she went grocery shopping, she would agonize over which brand of lima beans God wanted her to purchase. Such thoughts could be paralyzing: “O Lord, the Green Giant brand is cheaper, but I’m not sure giants are Christian. . . .” One day, my friend entered her apartment to find that everything was messy. The table, chairs, and sofa all felt greasy. Even the lampshades were stained with an oily substance. She asked her roommate what had happened and was told that she had been praying and felt the Lord tell her to anoint the apartment, so she took a bottle of vegetable oil and anointed everything she could.

For some people, knowing the mind of Christ is a bit like Mr. Dick knowing the mind of Charles I. In Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield, Mr. Dick spent years writing a memoir, but every time he began it, he was interrupted by the thoughts of Charles I. He wasn’t sure how it had happened, but he was convinced that when Charles’s head was chopped off, his thoughts were put into Mr. Dick’s head, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get them out. Mr. Dick was certain he knew the mind of Charles I better than anyone else, which explains why he spent many years as a young man in an asylum.

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Thomas S. Buchanan is the George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He has studied at UCSD, Northwestern University, and MIT, and has held visiting professorships at the University of Western Australia and the University of Aix-Marseille. He has served as department chairman, deputy dean, and institute director, president of the American Society of Biomechanics, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics. He is on the Board of Trustees of Saint Katherine College, the editorial board of Touchstone, and the board of The Fellowship of St. James.

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