Read Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. (NKJV)
More often than not, our problems with guidance are actually problems with obedience. The most challenging part of following Jesus is not so much figuring out what he might want us to do, but getting down to doing what he wants us to do. True, there are times of puzzlement for us, when we are at a crossroads and unsure of the best path. But most of our life isn’t spent at crossroads.
This passage tells us that the key to following God is putting ourselves at his disposal, trusting he knows what he is doing even when we don’t know what he is doing. We get a bit lost when we try to live independently of God and then invite him to nudge us in the right direction. The writer of Proverbs tells us that God will direct our paths, but only as we allow ourselves to be so directed. Trusting the guide and getting to know him is the key to guidance.
This doesn’t mean all is always crystal clear. It simply means we can trust God not to lead us up the garden path. We can get things wrong. God never does. Thomas Merton was a Roman Catholic monk whose writings have been helpful to many. This prayer of his is an honest response and interaction with our passage.
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am actually following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
Amen to that.