2011-05-18 - Going Our Own Way
Ps 143: 8 Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You.
Question to Consider: What has happened when you've chosen to go your own way, instead of trusting in God's leading? What have such experiences taught you about God and His love for you? What can you do differently next time you're tempted to go your own way, now that you've learned these difficult lessons?
A friend recently sent me an email with the thought-provoking question, "If you had three wishes, what would they be?" I had to think hard about my answer. There are a lot of things I would wish for. If I was just making selfish wishes, I'd wish I could eat all the chocolate I wanted, and not gain weight, that I made more money, that I lived near an amusement park so I could ride roller coasters whenever I wanted, that it would snow, that nothing bad would ever happen to me or the people I love, and so on.
If I were taking the question more seriously,I'd wish that everyone knew the hope and purpose found in Jesus. I'd wish those living in "Third World countries" would have access to the things we take for granted, like clean water, a warm home, medical care, and enough to eat. Those are two of the three wishes I sent back to my friend.
The third was that God would speak to me in an audible voice, or something equally obvious, and tell me exactly what He wants me to do. A cloud would be fine, or a pillar of fire, or a burning bush, or a fleece. He did a lot of that "making himself very obvious" stuff in the Old Testament. I'd like to have that kind of clarity.
As I thought about it, though, I realized that, even though they had such obvious communication from God, the Old Testament folks would choose to disregard what they knew. They would choose to go a different way, though God was clearly saying, "Turn here, stop here, go straight here." When I read about such choices in the Bible, I can't help but think, "Come on, guys, God is being so clear with you. You took that for granted, when some of us would love to have that kind of direction spelled out. How could you go and do your own thing, when God was bending over backwards to make Himself plain to you?" If my car GPS (assuming I had one) was giving me such specific directions, I would take it and trust the information given, wouldn't you? God was acting as a GPS for the Israelites, and they chose not to listen, and to do their own thing instead.
It's easy for me to say, "I'd follow my GPS," but would I? I'm human just like the Israelites were. I know I'm stubborn and want my own way at times, too. I suspect that, sooner or later, no matter how clear the communication or how specific the instructions, I'd do what the Israelites and other Old Testament characters did; I'd choose to disobey and rebel and go my own way. I've done it with things God has said to do or not do in the Bible, which is God's communication with me. I've made such choices, even when the command not to was very clear and specific, and written down in black and white. I can't go back and say, "God, You know I wasn't taking notes when you said all that, so I can't be sure what You said, when You were talking to me." It's there in hard copy.
All of us have a nature that compels us to seek our own way, and what we want. Just like our friends in the Old Testament, though, when we do that, we generally get ourselves into some sort of trouble and come to realize why God told us which turn to take and which to avoid. Thankfully, God knows this, and loves us and offers forgiveness and grace when we go astray "like sheep." He wants to lead and guide us, and wants us to continually seek Him. May our prayer be, as the verse above says, "Cause me to know the way in which I should walk." When we rebel or make mistakes, or disobey, may our prayer be, as the verse also says, "Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning." Thankfully, God knows we will "go astray," and seeks us out. He is willing to forgive us and help us move forward - back on the path of following Him.
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust. Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.