I am not an expert here, but these are my thoughts.
Almost every believer in God would agree that being in the center of God’s will is what they desire. This simple concept has played out in scripture and secular literature.
The problem comes when we aren’t sure of the plan that God has for us. Without trumpets in the sky, a burning pillar of fire, or a distinct audible voice, we are often confused and often paralyzed.
There are several ways to approach discerning God’s will. First and foremost, is to practice the art of discernment. I know that this sounds like a circular argument, but it isn’t. Discernment is not something that you just turn on, and then use. It does take practice, as you won’t “get it right” immediately.
My experience is the same for most things in life. Practice with 10,000 events and you might get good at the event. Work fulltime at something for ten years and you might be considered professional.
Discernment for God’s will adds another factor, you must have a deep personal relationship with God. Obviously this requires that you believe in Him, but it also means that you communicate with Him. It may seem like a one way process for a time, but over time you can “discern” God’s response to your communication.
A huge part of understanding your “God Plan”, is to realize that God has a linear long view. By this I mean that with infinite knowledge comes infinite patience. The plan for your life is likely made up of slow development of a combination of natural gifts. Some of these gifts require a lot of practice before they can be used. Also, bear in mind, that God can suddenly make you a blacksmith with no warning. Generally though, if you carefully catalog the natural gifts that you are born with, then the plan for your life can almost be seen.
Lastly, I have been writing about an individua’ls quest for God’s plan. This has not always been the example we read about. Prophets and prophecies are God’s plans that are known through a separate individual. A human individual!
This has huge problems that are inherent. The Israelites had a custom of stoning to death individuals who said they were prophets, but ended up being wrong. Nearly all of the scriptural prophets started out with small accurate prophecies and then built up to larger prophecies.
So why do we have prophets? It could be that the culture had become so blind that they could not see God in their lives. But if this is so,then why would they even listen to God’s prophet? The answer is that they mostly didn’t, until it was too late. Having prophets is almost admitting that the general public is out of touch with God. Responding to prophets may call into question your personal relationship with God.
We mostly do not have individuals who call themselves prophets. This might be a good thing on several levels. It might mean that we rely are our own relationship and discernment. But just because they don’t call themselves prophets it doesn’t mean that they don’t consider themselves prophetic.
How often have you heard someone give their idea of the future, mostly in negative terms? I believe they do this for their own benefit. It is the old “I told you so” syndrome. They attempt to gain power and prestige by predicting the future.
What about those prophecies that are full of good will and encouragement? They are meant for the individual’s benefit! The motivations are completely.
These are confusing times, where answers are needed, but hard to understand. I fear that we are headed to a time of prophets and prophecies. Not so sure that is a good thing.