Thursday, April 13, 2023

The Lord’s Direction (Proverbs 16:1, 9; 21:1)

"A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps" (Prov. 16:9).

Many Christians are guilty of carrying out their own plans without depending on God’s direction. They do not bathe their decisions in prayer, seek godly counsel, accept the lot into which God has cast them, or watch for the various ways God directs them. They refuse to consider all that God has revealed. The result is a life marred by anxiety and frustration.

A French pastor in the mid-1800s was struck with a debilitating illness. For many months, he lay on his bed awaiting death. During this time, students and friends gathered around him to grasp any morsel of knowledge that would fall from his lips. These morsels were gathered into a book known as Adolphe Monad’s Farewell. On one occasion, Monod commented on how he regretted relying too much on his own plans during his life. “There is no peace for a man who finds the main-spring of his actions in his own will. He is always in danger of being mistaken; he is often troubled and in error, because human will and human interests are subject to much error; he has no rest, he is disturbed, he is tormented and inspires a deep compassion in anyone who sees his real desire to glorify God and yet also sees how he accumulates for himself obstacles in his way, by his lack of simplicity; while, on the other hand, when we look at God alone, we can cast all our burden upon Him and He sustains us. What is more, if my projects are of my own devising, they may be impossible to carry out. I might wish to follow a certain profession, but it involves expenses which are beyond my means. I might want to be a painter, but my sight is not good.… But there is no possibility of missing my vocation if my projects are devised for me in the plan of God. For then, even this impossibility which I find of doing what I originally proposed to do, proves to me that God is not calling me to that; and the very infirmities which disqualify me become so many lights by which God reveals to me my true vocation. If we act in this spirit, our vocation is God’s affair, not ours; and the activity, the individual exertion that God always requires of us, consists only in following Him in faithful and complete obedience. Thus we shall find perfect peace: God cannot mislead us.”

Do you have anxiety about the future and decisions you have to make? Could your anxiety stem from trying to make things work for yourself instead of trusting God? Consider your experiences, circumstances, and talents. How might you be striving against God instead of following the path He has laid out before you?