“I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).
Have you ever wished you could sit down with God and have a good talk with him about your own life? Have you ever wished you could just look him in the eye and say, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” All of us have moments when we long to hear God’s voice or receive some definite sign regarding a relationship, a business decision, a career choice, or a major expenditure.
With all my heart I believe the following statement is true: God wants you to know his will more than you want to know it, therefore he takes personal responsibility to see that you discover it. Knowing God’s will is ultimately God’s problem, not yours. Let that last thought sink into your mind for a moment. You’ve probably never heard it put that way before.
Let me suggest what this really means:
1. He can put you exactly where he wants you to be.
2. He can arrange all the details years in advance.
3. He can open doors that seem shut tight.
4. He can remove any obstacle that stands in your way.
5. He can take your choices and fit them into his plan that you end
up at the right place at just the right time.
6. He can even take your mistakes and bring good out of them.
7. He can take tragedy and use for your good and his glory.
All he needs—the only thing he requires—is a willing heart. He just needs you to cooperate with him. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have to make decisions. But it does take the pressure off, because it means that you can trust God to take your decisions and use them to accomplish his will in your life.
Proverbs 20:24 tells us that “a man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?” There is something hidden in the Hebrew text that you wouldn’t know simply from reading the English translation. The word translated “man’s” in the first phrase comes from a Hebrew word that refers to a mighty warrior, a ruler, or a potentate. Solomon means to say that even the steps of a mighty man are ordained by God. The word “anyone” in the second phrase comes from a Hebrew word that stands for the whole human race. We might paraphrase it this way: “If God directs the steps of the mighty, how then can an ordinary man understand his own way?” The answer is, he can’t! That’s the whole point of the verse. We’re like a herd of sheep stumbling around in the darkness, bumping into things, tripping over ourselves, trying to find our way forward. We can’t say for sure where we’ve come from, where we are right now, or where we’re going to be tomorrow. Only God can see the big picture of life. When you understand that truth, you can enjoy each day as it comes–and let God take care of the future.
Father, teach me the joy of the present moment and the pleasure of living in the here and now. Amen.
Ray Pritchard pastored in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. Married to Marlene for 38 years, he enjoys being a husband, a father and a grandfather, riding his bike, and playing with Dudley and Gary, beloved basset hounds.