How many adults, with twenty twenty hindsight, wish they had given more while in high school…or in college..had put more effort into preparing themselves for their unknown future? Hindsight serves one important purpose; it helps us learn which mistakes to not make next time.
And there is a next time. We were put on this earth just as we were put in school – to prepare ourselves so that we will be ready to live the future that waits for us in Eternity. It is our responsibility, while we are here, to develop the closest possible relationship with God and to learn His Word, which we will live by forever.
My memories of school, and all the things the adult me would have done differently, help keep me aware of this truth. While I do forget and deviate from my preferred path on occasion, I try to continually be growing in the things of God, learning all I can about His Word and His will for my life, and getting just as close to Him as I can. I don’t want to just make it through the ultimate graduation; I want to excel now so that God can use me exactly the way He wants to in the next phase of my life.
We all face mountains. The question is, how do we face them? One man starts up the mountain without worrying about its height or terrain, trusting God to lead him every step of the way. Eventually, he pauses to glance around and sees he’s made it halfway up without even realizing it.
Another man stands on the dark side of the mountain, with no light to reveal its features or face. It is fearsome and he shivers at its base in terror, not daring to put one foot in front of the other. Yet if he waits for the sun the truth of the mountain will be revealed and his path become clear.
It is not the mountain itself that matters, but how we face it. If we trust in God with all our hearts and refuse to rely on our own, faulty logic, if we turn to Him for direction at every step, He will show us the right path to take.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
I know I am not alone in counting this among my favorite scriptures. It seems I see it more and more in email signature lines, on plaques, and in a variety of other places. I love it in the King James. “I know the thoughts that I think toward you…”
Whether the word is translated as “thoughts” or “plans”, I inevitably go back to the beginning. I mean, I go back to the literal beginning- “In the beginning God created…”
Consider it. He said, “Light be,” and light was, yet even before He said the words, He thought the thought; He made the plan. God’s thoughts and plans have immeasurable power. God’s thoughts and plans result in an outpouring of His creativity. God’s thoughts will have results; His plans will come to pass. Bank on it.
And He thinks these thoughts towards me. He has these plans for me. Me! Can there possibly be anything more reassuring than to know that the One who created the universe is thinking about and making plans for me, and that His plans are to give me a future and a hope?
For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace…
Here, in five words, is a principal I was taught years ago – follow peace.
It is the rule I adhere to when making any important decision. Yes, I follow forms of reason and logic as well, but peace has the final say because I have learned that God speaks through peace – and the devil cannot.
Recognize this – for it is foundational. Over and over Jesus, the Prince of Peace, promises us His peace. We are assured that while our minds are stayed on Him we will be in perfect peace (I’ve experienced this while touring the inside of the fiery furnace!). On the other hand, confusion and doubt, worry and fear – these come only from Satan.
So, in the end, finding the path is a fairly simple thing. When faced with a decision, needing to choose between two things and failing to recognize the obviously right option, I choose both – one at a time.
My doctor told me I was pregnant and immediately informed me that he didn’t deliver babies anymore. I was instantly thrown into turmoil, not knowing who to go to, who I should trust with the delivery of my child. I began researching my options, which I had recently learned included midwifery, and writing out the pros and cons of each. Even so, I was still unable to make a decision. Then I remembered what I had been taught – “Be led by peace” – and decided to decide, and in deciding to see where peace might be found.
I decided to go with a doctor. Almost before the decision was fully made, my insides were churning. To say there was no peace would be to make a gross understatement.
So I decided again – this time to make an appointment with the midwife I’d been hearing about. Peace flooded my soul in that very moment.
I will not say the decision is always as clear. Sometimes both options bring peace. Since God authors peace and the devil cannot, I take this as a sign that both options are equally acceptable to God and the choice really is my own. Sometimes neither option brings peace. When this occurs, I start looking around for a third option, one I’d either not considered or had cast aside earlier. If there truly is no third option I look to myself, seeking out anything in me that might be blocking the peace God sends my way.
What I find could be fear, unforgiveness…any number of things, but put simply it is sin. Once I’ve dealt with the sin and go back to the options, sincerely choosing each in turn, one will almost always inspire peace, making itself clear as God’s choice.
I’m an organizer – a list person. I love researching my options and listing the pros and cons of them all, organizing my thoughts to the tiniest detail, but when the rubber meets the road and the decision must be made I would much rather let He Who Knows All make it for me, and then lead me forth in peace.