I stood in a wide hallway, crowded with bewildered parents–all in a rush to find their way to the next class. In an attempt to block out the noise, I pressed my phone tightly to my ear so I could hear my daughter’s voice. I had just five minutes to make it from one end of the school to the other. I was desperate to hear her instructions …
Go down the long hallway …
Turn right and then go down the stairs …
Go outside into the next building …
Turn right and go up another flight of stairs …
… A few more turns
… Finally ending up at the end of another long hallway
Today’s high schools are enormous. How in the world are students expected to make this trek several times in one day? Much less a lost parent on Meet Your Teacher Night?
The phone in my hand and my daughter’s voice on the other end.
Step by step, she guided me through the maze so I could get to where I needed to be. Without her voice, I had no hope of finding my way. Without her direction, I would not have arrived at each destination.
In the grand scheme of things, finding your way around a high school is not a big deal (unless you are a new student!).
But a lot of circumstances really are a big deal.
- Crises that seem too big to handle. Maybe we created them, maybe someone else did.
- At some point in our lives (probably many times), we will find ourselves in the middle of a serious, confusing situation, and we need to make a difficult, maybe impossible, decision.
We are desperate for direction. In the same way that I needed to hear my daughter’s voice in order to get from point A to point B, we need to hear God’s voice so we can find our way to safety or to the next destination God has for us.
I’m Tossing You a Line!
Although we will never understand God completely, the more time we spend reading His Word, meditating, and praying, the better we get to know His heart, His mind, and His ways. When we know Him, we recognize His voice. We learn to discern the Holy Spirit’s direction for our lives.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. (John 16:13)
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)
Without that connection, we wander aimlessly, we spin emotionally, and can end up busy without purpose. That’s not the direction God wants for us! In order to find our way, we must let God change the way we think so we can hear His voice.
…let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
His plans are tailor made for us.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. (Philippians 2:13)
When we are connected to the Lord, we will know what it is He wants us to do. We’ll recognize His promptings to take a meal to someone; to pick up something from the grocery store for a friend who can’t get out; we’ll know what direction our ministry should take.
There are times when we may feel anxious because we can’t find a verse in the Bible that speaks directly to our situation. We’ve prayed and prayed and still don’t have a clear idea of what we should do.
This is one way God tests our faith! In order to make the best decision, it’s crucial that our relationship with God is on good terms. That means we are doing what we know we should be doing, and we aren’t doing what we know we shouldn’t be doing. If either of those is out of sync, we need to to get it right. That will ensure that our lifeline is strong and secure!
God gave us minds that are excellent at solving problems. This is one way to approach to decision-making.
- First, we pray. Asking God for wisdom. He will give it!
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. (James 1:5)
- Then we lay everything out before us, evaluating each option in light of Scripture. And pray!
- Identify the pros and cons. And pray!
- Ask the question, What seems best based on what I know? Pray!
- Finally, we make a decision and move forward in faith.
We don’t always have all the information we want, when it’s time to make a decision. But we have to make a decision anyway. When we make our decision in faith, it pleases God!
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see … And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:1, 6)We don't always know all we want to know when it's time to decide. Deciding in #faith pleases God!
Even then, there are times that God leads us in a direction that seems contrary to everything that makes sense. When the priests of Israel led the Israelites across the Jordan River, their feet and robes got wet before God parted the waters (Joshua 3).
Pulling the Rope Back In
I was not the only parent with a cell phone glued to her ear! Lots of people needed help finding their classrooms. Thankfully, students stationed at key junctures provided directional help to those of us who were trying to find our way.
Lovingly, God also provides people along our path to show us which way to go. There is great value in seeking wisdom from others.
Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success. (Proverbs 15:22)
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others. (Proverbs 12:15)
The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger. So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers. (Proverbs 24:5-6)
God loves us so much. He allows us to go through tough stuff, but He always has a best path. Sometimes it’s hard to find. We have to use our minds to figure it out. The basis of all our decisions is our lifeline–the Word of God. And our decisions must always be a step of faith.
I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will hear you. When you look for me, you will find me. When you wholeheartedly seek me, I will let you find me, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:11-14 GW) [Emphasis added.]
Image: Pixabay (Karolina Grabowska)