May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. (2 Thessalonians 3:5)
God directs us. He leads us. He pursues us. And He walks with us just where we are. He is with us, around us, ahead of us, within us, which is such an amazing reassurance. Yet we aren’t quite content. We are so thankful God directs our hearts into His love, but we get anxious to get to where we’re going and might miss out on where we are.
It’s like anticipating something just around the corner but not really knowing where the corner is. Is the corner three steps ahead or three miles? Life isn’t built in neatly uniformed city blocks. We don’t know if we’ll be rounding a corner in the next few seconds or next few months. There’s uncertainty and transitions in life.
When we’re in places or moments of uncertainty and transition, we can ask God to at least let us know when we’ll be at the “next place”—when will we move beyond the financial crisis, when will we finally get the job we want, when will the pain stop, when will we get to see the purpose in all of this. We want to know where the corner is. Well, unless it’s going to be a couple months or years or not in this lifetime, because we don’t want to know we’ll have to wait that long. But what kind of obedience is that?
When we think of God directing our hearts, we’re comforted by God’s perfect will and plan, but we can slip into a distorted belief that supposes the path will be straight by our standards. God’s will and plan are perfect, but we’re not. And our world is not. We look for a final goal and thank God for the steps along the way that we can understand and fit into the path logically, but we don’t have the view that God has. We get frustrated with not being where we want to be in the timing we prefer.
If we trust God is who He says He is and does and can do what He says He can do, we need to mature beyond only wanting to know that things will work out along the journey and preferring to leave out all the sticky details. If we live in obedience and faith, we yield as God works in us.
What a relief. We don’t have to figure it out. We can fully experience our walk to the corner. After all, if we stay on the sidewalk, we’ll come to a corner, however far away it is. And along the way…
We might stop to visit with a friend at an outside cafe.
We might help someone who spilled her purse contents all over the sidewalk.
We might listen to the street musician, who is talented enough to play in a concert hall.
We might pry the gum off our shoe.
We might be startled by the sudden honk of a passing car.
We might lift our face to feel the warmth of the sun.
We might get preoccupied with the bee buzzing around the flowers.
We might hear bits and pieces of passing conversations and wonder at the diversity of people.
We might see a couple walking hand in hand and appreciate the simple joy of relationships.
We might feel the achiness of our muscles.
We can appreciate the ability to continue walking.
When we’re too focused on the corner, we miss a lot along the way. We avoid some messes but many joys as well. We can anticipate the corner but can also savor the journey. We need to keep moving and stay on track; movement is essential to a journey. But we can certainly appreciate the details along the way.
God has a journey planned for you—today. You woke up this morning and started walking. You’ll stop this evening. In the obedience of one today after another, you will reach the corner—not in your timing but in God’s. Letting God direct your life and heart is a more manageable, less stressful, and much more beautiful path than even one step you can take on your own.
Dear God, I want to anticipate all that You have planned for me in the future. There is joy in the anticipation. Yet I don’t want to miss anything along the journey. I get frustrated at times because I really don’t like all the steps along the way. Life is messy. I don’t like the pain. I don’t like the uncertainties. But I know it’s not about what I like. It’s not about what’s comfortable to me. And even those experiences along the way that feel yucky? Yes, I know even those can lead me closer into Your presence. Help me to see You in absolutely everything around me today. I will look for You and trust You and take each step in obedience, one at a time.