We have seen in previous articles that there is a distinction in the will of God. There is God’s secret will (by which he controls everything) and God’s revealed will (what he wants people to do). It is easy to see the practical purpose of the revealed will of God, but why is it important to understand that God has a secret will?
Knowing that God has a secret will by which he controls all things gives great peace to the Christian. Now when we think of peace, we tend to always think of an absence of suffering. But that is not the peace that we experience from God’s secret will. In fact Peter tells us that sometimes it is God’s secret will that you suffer for doing the right thing: ‘It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil’ (1 Peter 3:17). Why would God will that you suffer? Because God often uses suffering to achieve something good. Just as we know that without the pain of exercise body muscles will not be strong, so God gives us painful trials for our strengthening.
So how do you have peace from knowing about God’s secret will if it doesn’t mean freedom from suffering? The peace you have is a peace of mind. In the midst of any experience, including suffering and pain, you can know that things are not beyond God’s control. Everything you are experiencing is all part of his secret will. And if you love him, then that secret will is working for your good. This is the promise that is given to us by Paul: ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28). This promise depends upon God’s secret will being in control.
So when you suffer as people who love God and know of God’s secret will, you put yourself in his hands and rest in peace. This is what Peter tells you to do: ‘So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good’ (1 Peter 4:19). Rather than slack off in doing good when you suffer, you should increase your good works because you know God is in control of all that is happening by his secret will. This is how people in church history have been able to endure immense persecution for being Christians.
Do you have peace of mind because you love God and know his secret will is always in control for your good?