Following His Directions
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I recently completely a long journey, moving from a short term contract job in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to a longer term contact position in San Antonio, Texas. At the outset, it had the potential of a unique adventure, traveling through America’s heartland (through Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, and into Texas). But there was one critical thing needed for this 1,400 mile drive to be enjoyable … directions!
I packed my little car with all I had brought to Wisconsin just 5 months earlier. And in the passenger’s seat next to me were my 3 pages of directions from Google© Maps. The directions provided a turn by turn explanation of how to get from the driveway of the apartment I rented in Wisconsin to the parking lot of the apartment complex in San Antonio.
I followed the directions to the letter. When it said turn right, I did. When it told me to take the left fork, I did. As I was traveling, a single verse kept coming to my mind. It’s one I’m sure many of you know … Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV), “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
This was my first time traveling through any of these states. To trust my own understanding and that I’d “figure it out” would’ve been foolish (I’d probably still be out there). So I had the directions by my side. But they wouldn’t have been of any value to me unless … I followed them. I began to wonder.
Think with me … so many times when I have looked at this scripture, the underlying thought I have brought to it was that if I trust the Lord, He will direct my paths. In other words, He will give me the directions I need to make my way through life as long as I place my trust in Him. I’m not going to dispel that way of seeing this but for a moment … I’d like to flip it around.
Because the truth is, our loving and gracious Lord gives us directions all the time, whether we trust Him or not. We have all been at a crossroads moments and heard that still voice tell us to go in one direction, even if we didn’t listen. Our Savior is constantly feeding us the directions we need in life to travel paths that lead to joy and that avoid sorrow (most of it anyway). I began to realize as I was driving, His leading me, His directing of my steps is something He just does. So what’s my part?
My part is to trust Him! I am to take His directions for my life and trust His plan. After all, this is also my first time through this life. Each day I encounter is one I have never seen before. In most situations, to trust my own understanding would be … foolish. But the way I demonstrate that I’m placing my heart and my trust in the Lord, and His leading for me, is by following the directions He so graciously gives. Even to interject my own detours or modifications (adding a twist or turn here and there) would be to say that the plan God has for me is somehow incomplete or needs adjustment. Truly, when it comes to guiding my life, God doesn’t need my help. He asks for my obedience.
Following His directions can seem tough sometimes. It takes time to be able to quiet your spirit to the place where it’s tuned into His voice. But a great place to start is with the written directions He has already provided … His holy word. Just by following the general instructions the Bible gives us would make all of our lives sail more smoothly. His directions to be loving, kind, and faithful would make any life easier to navigate. Whether it be how to handle family finances or in dealing with those deeper areas of temptation we all have, God stands ready with directions to get you victoriously through. But directions, to bring any value, need to be followed. And since the Lord doesn’t give information to simply fill space, His directions need to be followed to the letter … turn by turn.
I made it to San Antonio safely … and learned something along the way as well. My precious Heavenly King loves me so much that He is constantly feeding my life directions. He is faithfully giving me the information I need (and the strength as well) to avoid the bumps that come with errant paths. So I’m left with a choice … following His directions for my life or my own. Gee, to me that’s a simple one!
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