Saeed Abedini is a pastor who was falsely accused and arrested over a year ago in Iran. Much has been written about his arrest and subsequent imprisonment. My goal here is not to retell this tragic tale, but rather highlight the amazing way God is using him despite his difficult circumstances. While incarcerated in Iran’s most brutal prison, even in the midst of enduring regular torture, Saeed has led over thirty people to Christ within those prison walls. While it would be inconsistent with the character of God to say that it is God’s will for Saeed to be suffering in prison, it’s important to recognize that Saeed continues to do God’s will even when the forces of evil are doing all they can to thwart the advancement of the Kingdom.
In a perfect and God-fearing world, there would be no suffering, no lying, no torture, no jealousy, and no religious persecution. Pastor Abedini has been a victim of all the above because we live in a dark and fallen world. Originally in Iran to help build an orphanage, I’m sure Saeed thought he was doing God’s will. Yet when evil intervened, Saeed did not give up hope. He realizes what we all need to understand. Doing the will of God is not about a vocation or being involved with a certain project or group of people. Being in the will of God is always about doing it in this moment, and then the next, and the one after that as well.
In other words, understanding what God’s will for your life is entails living like Jesus regardless of your situation or circumstances. God’s will isn’t something we discover or accomplish. It is merely something we do. It’s not a course of action; it’s why we do what we are doing at any given moment in time. Few of us will ever be faced with a situation like that of Saeed. Still, we can learn a great deal from him and the way he has responded to what has befallen him. Life is not about following a certain path and hoping in the end that it leads to God. Rather, the life of a disciple is about what we do all along the road.
Regardless of the hand you have been dealt, there will be an opportunity to do the will of God. In every circumstance, we can choose to love and serve others. Being in the will of God means you never put your needs above those of another. It means loving unconditionally even when it’s the last thing you want to do. Too many spend their entire lives desperately trying to figure out what God wants them to do with their lives. Instead we must recognize that God’s will is lived out moment by moment, not by grandiose long term plans. We don’t become the person God can use; we already are. Just ask Saeed.