A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way? –Proverbs 20:24 (NIV)
What a great question. I ask that of myself all the time. Sometimes I simply don’t understand. Do you ever feel lost as you follow Christ? If we truly believe God to be true to His Word, the steps we take are directed by Him. At least half the time I’m not sure I understand them. I mean, why this step?
Remember, God will never ask us to do something that would conflict with His character and nature. I also believe God allows tests of our devotion to Him in order to develop the discipline of trust. But sometimes it doesn’t seem to make any sense. I wonder, have we gotten used to questioning the steps we take instead of the simple trust He desires?
My kids give me a great example. Sometimes the things I ask them to do don’t make sense to them. But my response tends to be the same: “Trust me.” They’ll fuss a little, maybe pout some. But they end up obeying and trusting me, and later see the reward from it because I remind them of what I said.
I’ve experienced it through financial shortcomings. Depending on God to come through as we purpose not to go into debt is tough. But the long term reward from delaying immediate satisfaction brings peace in the end. And keeping a meaningless monthly payment off the books brings comfort, and extra cash when we need it.
Then there’s family issues. They come up too. Trusting God with my family or events within the family is very hard. There’s an obligation toward them because of blood and love. This is the hardest thing for anyone. When it comes to someone we love, our trust in God is tested harder than many other aspects. I believe the financial things are hard enough, but this is much harder. And when the financial thing and the family thing are combined, the trust and patience test can become unbearable. This is when the step “directed by the LORD” causes us to cry out to God just like my children do. “I don’t understand! How could this happen? Why did You let this happen like this, God? Are you going to come through for me? Why can’t I see it now? How come I don’t feel comforted, God of comfort? How come I feel abandoned?”
This is the toughest post I’ve ever written. And I can’t say I have the answers. This is the paradigm that brings up the core of who we are, the depth of our faith in God, and the trust we really have in Him. How devoted are we?
Proverbs tells me something here. Solomon, in all his wisdom, being the wisest man to ever walk the face of the earth didn’t understand his own way either. He said it here. And to conclude his other book of the description of meaningless things with this:
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. –Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV)
Maybe it’s not our job to know or understand. Maybe it’s our duty or responsibility to only trust God. Maybe after we’ve questioned the Father we should conclude with obedience, just like my kids. And maybe God will remind us after we’ve obeyed, “See? Do you see why now?”