“Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD, How then can man understand his way?” (20:24)
I’ve grown to love all the passages in the Bible about how involved God is in determining our steps.
“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.” (James 4:14-16)
For how unpredictable my life is, you’d think I’d give up on being a planner, or at least announcing my plans with such certainty.
Life is full, fluid, tragic, complex and beautiful. Nothing about where I am now, as a 32 year old, could have been predicted. God leads us constantly. We cannot ignore His involvement. So am I going to kick and scream and go forth in frustrated terror? Or will I surrender and go with the flow, making the most of everything along the way?
Late in 2012, I was at a crossroads once more and I laid everything out before the LORD. “Here is my life. I’ve lived all over, moving constantly, working, loving, getting heartbroken, laughing my head off, making friends, learning languages, supressing trauma and feeling directionless. Only you have seen everything. You have tucked me in, every where I’ve slept, my whole life. Only you have seen everything. Only you have been in all these seasons. No one else comes close. Only you can tell me where to go next, so speak up.” To my dismay, God really clearly told me to join staff at YWAM Salem and I said, “What? That’s a horrible idea, but okay, you’re the boss.”
These have been the fullest years of my life and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I have no idea what awaits me in these coming years, but I’m going to surrender!
Now, of course, there have have been times when I didn’t surrender and I have no idea what I missed out on. As the DTS speaker said this week, “Jesus is a gentleman, He doesn’t force us to do anything.”
There is a divine tension between God’s sovereignty and our own free will. We’ve got a million theologies and denominations to prove it. So what do we do?
Be honest. Make plans, but hold them losely. Ask God for advice at every turn, read the Word and become increasingly acquainted with His voice. Surrender to His ideas. Humbly admit limitations.
I don’t want to know what fullness I’ve missed out on because of my fear or pride. I don’t want to take any credit for the good things God has brought forth in my life, because “apart from Him I have no good thing” (Psalm 16:2).
Humility is our friend, people.