There are some times in our lives that our need to search out God’s leading are more obvious than others, maybe because they seem more time pressing. For young people decisions like college and even college majors or work direction are huge. And frequently majors are pursued with real questions about how they might work toward the best of the individual down the road. For those a year or two or more down the road there are the questions of finishing school and what to do next, marriage, and even the beginning of a family. The last of these (children) “sometimes” even comes about when we feel least ready. These are all big things, and the list of big things continues as we go through life to include houses, jobs and career moves, unemployment, accidents and disease, struggles in relationships, and more. And there is not one of us who approaches these questions with certainty as to the right direction to take or even more, the exact outcome.
And then there are the everyday decisions that we all must deal with. Some of them seem smaller than others, and we might make them as a matter of general course without much thought, while others cause us to pause and give deeper consideration. But I think it pretty safe to say for most of us in our decisions that we want to make the right choice and come out in a more positive place than before, yet we realize that with every decision there is an element of risk and uncertainty. As a result many people start to engage in a process of balancing risks and rewards, personal desires against deference to others, and the grades of good, better and best.
Sarah Young cites the following verses, from so many others dealing with God’s direction for our lives, in her “Jesus Calling” devotional for today:
… Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Ephesians 1:4 (NKJV)
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
While I don’t want to discount the realities of “risk,” “desire,” or “good and better,” I do want to emphasize “reward,” “deference,” and “best.” Everything we do has an element of risk, and we do have desires with many of them being very good and right, and seeking good and even better are worthy things to do. But when we stop to wait on God and show deference for His leading and Him maybe even granting us the freedom to choose between multiple options, then we also put ourselves in a position to experience His best and to receive His eventual rewards. It also puts us in a position to stand firm before Him and not bail out on the hard choices. This is because it is God who moderates our risk, making us more than adequate for all that He intends of His children (2 Timothy 3:17). And it is God who has all our days in His plan and who works that plan to good, and God’s good is so much better than we could even imagine.
Romans 8:26-28 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Scripture is full of the promises of God and descriptions and pictures of His character and love. It is overflowing with assurances of His love and His faithfulness, and it is also honest about the struggles that we will encounter in this world. Because of this, there is no better place to run for advice as we study and meditate on His Word and talk with Him about all that we face and all that He wants for us which is His very best. For me, I cannot come back to Proverbs 3:5-6 too much because of how it reminds me of my God being present and directive in everything I do.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (6/18)
You are My beloved child. I chose you before the foundation of the world, to walk with Me along paths designed uniquely for you. Concentrate on keeping in step with Me, instead of trying to anticipate My plans for you. If you trust that My plans are to prosper you and not to harm you, you can relax and enjoy the present moment.Your hope and your future are rooted in heaven, where eternal ecstasy awaits you. Nothing can rob you of your inheritance of unimaginable riches and well-being. Sometimes I grant you glimpses of your glorious future, to encourage you and spur you on. Your main focus should be staying close to Me. I set the pace in keeping with your needs and My purposes.