And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (Colossians 1:9-12)
We can want spiritual wisdom for our present and for our future, but sometimes we also need to apply it to our past. We want to look back and claim, “God led me that way.” But be careful. Perhaps God did, and you were sure of it at the time. You were pursuing God even if your knees were shaking. You followed and honored him.
But maybe you weren’t pursuing him. He often still guides you in ways you don’t recognize. He still gets the glory, and your faith still grows, especially when you can look back and acknowledge what he has done, how he provided, how he sustained you and extended grace. You then glance back and renew your strength as you persevere into the future.
But there is another option to be wary of and honest about. Sometimes you weren’t seeking God and were actually ignoring him. You were rejecting him, whether it’s because you simply wanted to do things your own way and his ways seemed less convenient, or you were adamantly and knowingly rejecting him and his ways. If you can acknowledge that was the case and loop back, not to get stuck or discouraged, but to seek reconciliation, work through the tough process of healing, and move ahead with courage and humility, great. Your faith will grow. But if you rework that season in your life to rationalize what you did and inject God into what you most want or need to justify yourself, your heart is still hardened. You might be more concerned about your own reputation and perspective than the truth, and that’s a dangerous place to be.
God can instill purpose and redemption into any of our choices, but we have to be willing to give it all to him. We have to let go of our own stuff. We have to put him first and let him define a situation and help us with the consequences. We can’t have part of it our way and part of it his as we try to keep convenience and comfort.
Be honest and humble about it all. Let God purpose and prune it all. Let him reveal the truth, help you heal, and spur you to persevere through the consequences.
That is what God’s grace does.