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07 - How to Know God's Will for Your Life

Michael Hasel Esther Louw


Michael Hasel interacts with young people on a daily basis as a professor at Southern Adventist University. In this episode he shares principles that have helped him and the young people he has mentored find answers to one of life’s biggest questions: How can I know God’s will?


  • May 15, 2019
    8:54 AM
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When Gideon wanted to know Gods Well he left out a fleece and ask God for a sign but it's life really that simple Hi I'm Esther love and joy listening to the learn and share podcast in this episode Michael Hudson from Southern avenues University shares how you can know God's will for your life. I welcome to the podcast Dr puzzles great to have you here today we just wanted to talk to a little bit about how to discern God's will for your life but before we get into that I would love to know more about a year what's your background who you're what you do. In a professor at Southern Methodist University and I've been teaching there for. 20 years now into the 21st year and before that I grew up in a professor's home as well and my mother is of a teacher as well my dad was a pastor and feel Logan and I grew up in an academic community so. In a rural place out in the country it was a beautiful Dylan kind of setting to grow up and with lots of lots of wonderful memories with relatives and friends and growing up in the church and growing up as a Christian in a good Christian home and. Probably in that setting mission was always something that was really important in our family in our life. We. My parents saw their mission in the education field you know and we often would travel overseas and that was always something very very interesting to me that's also I'm not talking about your own experience of having a walk with God When did it become a question your mind about how you could determine what God wanted you to do in life. Well that's that's an interesting question I think for me. It became very personal for me my walk with God when I was 12 years old we had a very well known evangelist that came into town and did an evangelist series that our church and I made a decision I went forward and accepted the Lord's life savior and that was a very meaningful experience I was baptized shortly after that and growing up by I love stories I love to read I love to experience different things and. I think many times. What I have found over the years working with young people it's finding what you're passionate about and sometimes that passion is connected with hopefully God's will for your new fish while so. Already at a very young age shortly after I was baptized I listen to your story our tape Apple Dan and Sue and it was a story about a medical doctor who found a cure for a major disease yellow fever and if it fascinated me Walter Reed the discovery of the cure for yellow fever I thought man that is so cool to have to do to find a cure for a disease and save thousands of lives for who knows how many years so that just kind of captured in you know even these doctors that risked their lives to test themselves and some of them died in the process was just really an amazing thing to hear and to listen about it was a short tape and I would listen to it over and over again so almost before I could say the word I think already in 7th and 8th grade I was I wanted to be a bacteriologist medical researcher that focused on finding the cures for diseases and that's what I would tell everybody even into. Into high school into my Cademy experience and. But that. That made a dramatic there was a dramatic shift and it happened during a visit with my grandfather in Germany during one of the summers we would often visit every few years we would go to Germany to visit my grandparents and my grandfather who was a seasoned pastor evangelist I remember between satis cool in church took me out into into the area there in minds Germany and took me for a walk around the church and I still remember him asking me what do you want to do when you grow up. I was I think a sophomore in high school and I told him the same thing that I've been telling people for several years and he was quiet for a really long time and he said you know it's wonderful. To. Have a goal in life where you want to save the lives of other people and to find a cure for diseases. But let me share with you something from my experience you know we stopped on the sidewalk I still remember it was kind of this pregnant pause and he was already in his eighty's and he had a back problem he was all bent over and he looked up at me kind of stretched his neck to look up at me and he said there is nothing that can compare with saving a life for eternity. And I had never thought about ministry in that way before in my life. I had grown up my dad was a pastor slash theologian but I never thought of ministry that way and it was a kind of like a light bulb went off in my mind I thought wow saving lives for eternity. And of course we don't do that the Holy Spirit does them and the Lord does that but he said there's nothing like. Partnering with the Lord and saving a life for eternity and I So that began the wheels turning and I began to think things a little bit differently and and about a year later my dad invited me to go on with into the Middle East he had an appointment in the Middle East a speaking appointment and he said you can go along if you want to pay your own ticket you can go with me and it's a 10 day trip and I went and and that was a fascinating journey for me because I again was exposed to places and people and sights and experiences that made the Bible come to life in a really unique way. And so the idea of ministry coupled with science coupled with history coupled with traveling began to open the world of the limit to the idea of archaeology which is what I wanted to do and so that was the beginning of that process and. You know it's interesting when you look for God's will for your life I think sometimes yes the Holy Spirit works in your heart and so do other people that are important your life is a great Pinus ning to those voices. You know godly parents godly pastors relatives who are if your best interests at heart in. Your own past your teachers who know you and who have worked with you is part of that process I think and you know I'm just listening to what you said to sharing your story there was no way for you to know when you were 12 years old where God was going to take you right right because you hadn't had some of those experiences or knowledge of what's out there. And you hadn't seen these events come into your life so it's almost like for you it wasn't a instantaneous moment where you just knew but it was a process where you began to know what government and you to do that's right that's a great illustration of God's leading in our lives and I think I think being open to God's leading and humbling your son and not. You know we do set goals for ourselves but at the same time you know keeping that openness to God's leading is really important so taking a shift here you talked about your own life. But for those who are listening here you know that I know myself a few years back I would struggle so much like I don't know what God wants me to do how do I know what His will is for my life and one of the questions that I used to have is this guy have one specific Well from my life or does he give me options that I can choose from that equally good that's a really good question. I think God created us with a purpose we're not simply here to live for ourselves I think we're here to serve others and Christ of course exemplified with. Him So looking at Christ as our example service to others I think is 1st and Paramount you can do that in so many different ways right and finding that niche where God can use you the most effectively it can be a journey I think it's well it doesn't always. Happen overnight you don't simply wake up one morning often and oh this is what it's going to be sometimes that does happen and sometimes God uses the experiences that you have in life and brings them all together later in time as well I think of my mother in law who is a you're a godly godly person she had. A bachelor's degree 2 master's degrees and when they immigrated to this country my father in law was a was a pastor an evangelist she struggled because she didn't find work at the beginning she was cleaning houses and wondering is this what God has for me and my in my life and for as purpose and she was a pastor's wife but then later on in life she began to train part of her job for the administration was to train other pastors wives and encourage them in their roles and all of the things that she had experienced in various capacities over the years all seemed to come together in those last 13 years of her ministry and to rewrap her husband so sometimes there is a waiting process and sometimes the road I think is hard and I want to emphasize that because we tend in our fast paced society and fast food society and instant gratification society to want to know and to have everything match or yesterday even but but it's important sometimes to think about that it's not always what's easiest that is going to bring us to the place where God wants us to be and sometimes it's the hard road the narrow road as Jesus describes it in some cases it's the narrow road that brings us finally to the place where he wants us to be and it can really no longer process Walt and I'm noticing here that it's not just about this and why and that kind of end of it you're calling necessarily where you know you have a Damascus Road experience and this is your mission for the rest area live at. It's more about knowing God's Will moment by moment and that may or may not make sense for a moment highway's right there right doesn't always right that's awesome so. If we're talking about this practical finding the will of God in your life. What methods discard me is to lead us into that path by how do I know that I'm not just following my ideas on my desires how do I know that I'm actually following God's promptings that's a good question and it's difficult because it is somewhat subjective sometimes and you can doubt yourself as you go through that process but I think that the Holy Spirit works in such a way often where. You. I so I tell students this if especially students who are thinking about theology or pastoral ministry. If you come to the place where you will not be happy doing anything else and you know that this is the path for God has for me even though it may not be the most comfortable one. That's the path that you need to take and there's there's. I think to most miserable people world those who have fought God and gone their own way because they somehow didn't think that what God had in mind for them was what they should do and those that are in a situation where they are extremely you know they're in ministry or they're in a certain situation but maybe that's not what God had planned for them particular situation and so I think there are there are those cases and so you have to be very honest with yourself and listen to to the counsel of those around you so you talk about these 2 people these one his fighting God's will and the other one he might be in ministry for the wrong reasons does God's will always come for legs when our desire is our guest. I get asked this because sometimes you have this idea that God's calling you to ministry that for every Something you don't like or the things that we are drawn to isn't God's calling is there a middle ground between this do our passions have anything to do with God's will for our lives I think absolutely I think God knows us better than you know our selves and I believe that God puts us in situations where he knows we can be most fulfilled and where we can make the most impact for him so. In my case for example. Some people may look at archaeology and say I would never be caught dead in that field and being in the hot sun you know and all this kind of thing I love what I do I absolutely love what I do I get to live my. Dream of what I always wanted to do on a daily in your early basis and and it's extremely fulfilling and I get to combine that with evangelism and I get to combine that with teaching ministerial students and other students to take the Bible seriously and look at it from a different angle in a different perspective than perhaps they have before and particularly in the scientific age in which we live where science has become kind of our God really to be able to do that through a science and to be able to. To look at that perspective from from that angle and to answer some of the questions that often are raised from science I think is very very powerful so in my sense I feel like I'm not a bacteriologist but I was able to fulfill that scientific side of me the ministry side in all kind of came together and for every person that's different right you know for every person those passions are different somebody who is an extremely caring individual extremely a people person maybe maybe an amazing nurse or physician I feel. And out later life ain't the same one so that probably would not have been a good feel for me to say no and God knew that I had a time and he and he helped me through that process to figure out maybe this isn't the right field for you so so I have great respect for people in all different feelings and as long as we are open to God using us in those feelings that's what matters most I think it's awesome So what I'm picking up so far is a guy can lead through the people in our lives who know us and can give us advice through our own and natural gifts and desires things that we get out we enjoy. And then any other ways that Providence is obvious that we can seek out working in our lives. I think there is I think prayer is extremely important in this process of studying the scriptures and really seeking the Lord and being open his direction sometimes because it's subjective we can convince ourselves that a certain direction is the direction we want to go when it may not be God's direction that we should go and so it's extremely important to to really be honest with ourselves and honest with God and say Is this really what you want and I remember an experience like that in my life. Where I wasn't sure whether I should go into pastoral ministry at that moment at that junction time or whether I should go into a Ph D. program and I put out a fleece. A very clear fleece and got an answer that prayer in the clearest way possible that allowed me to know without a shadow of a doubt that that's what I should do and I look back at it hindsight is always 2020 I look back at it now and can say that God really really directed and I had losses I think both would have been a blessing and would have worked some way but but following God's lead in that case allowed. Even a better outcome in the end it's really practical there so not just listening to those voices of people around us and and seeing the gifts that God given us that really being willing to surrender what our own motivations might be to see you know we putting us elves in between where God is truly just hits coming to now onto our final question ever talked about the will of God and how we can really know what he's wanting us to do in our lives what if we get to this point where we mess cards meeting and maybe he's leading us to somebody for marriage or career or something else and we just miss that and we make other choices is that Will of God last forever. I think God is always working in our behalf in our circumstances and he always has the best in mind for us so I think it's an extremely important not to give up when you make wrong choices we all make wrong choices sometime in life sometimes those choices are bigger than others like marriage or career I think marriage maybe is the biggest one. But but God is this working with us and even through those situations he can work in amazing ways if we give our lives to him and he can redeem marriages he can bring a spouse to to him come through to do prayer. It's not the ideal route to go but but you know there's always redemption I think in those situations and I think that. The most important thing when it comes to those big decisions is to be making the small ones with God as you go along and then as you get to the large ones allow allow him really to to guide you seek the counsel of wise people around you again parents pastor people that know you know the situation and and no I don't think I think God is always working always working in in that direction OK so I hear of where they just said was God's ideal will verses how we can redeem our own choices. I guess this means that you know if we do miss his ideal we'll which would primarily be something that he knows to be the easiest to pass possibly best pathway for as he can still make the best out of the mess that mean that have made an outliner. And sometimes you know. God's life his life his life is fluid life is in your life is unpredictable and things happen in life that you do you cannot make choices over. A spouse can pass away a child can die things things can happen accidents happen things happen so God is working in an imperfect world where imperfect but we're also live in an imperfect world and I think we have to recognize that in that imperfect world we have a heavenly savior who is still seated upon his throne high lifted up and and when we place ourselves at his feet he can take our circumstances. And somehow I think use them for His glory and for his honor and that's something that I think is extremely important to recognize as we go through life. Yes I think he has a plan for each one of us he works with are our ideas our plans sometimes and if we submit those to him and completely surrender to him he can do things that are beyond our wildest imagination I think and I've seen that in my own life as well so a beautiful way to end it reminds me of the Bible verse in room as a 28 and know where it says that God works all things together for good to them that are called according to his purpose thank you so much for sharing with us today we appreciate your time with us it's great to be with you thank you. Thanks for listening to get to hit. This episode with your friends to learn more check us out at the learn and share podcast dot com.


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