Will things work out? When will things come together? How will ends meet? What is going to happen next? What if…? What if…? What if…?
Do any of these questions run through your mind?
Do you face doubt, fear, and uncertainty as you stand along your path in life looking forward at what lies ahead? What happens when you see a curve, a turn, a hill, an obstacle, or what feels like the edge of a steep cliff?
We crave answers to these questions and many more. People have dedicated enormous amounts of time, talent, and treasures to make answers easier to obtain. The internet, Google, voice activated assistants, what do we use them for? To answer our questions as quickly and effectively as possible.
All of this quick answer technology can tell us where the nearest gas station is, what time the movie is playing, which hotels have vacancy, and we can retrieve a five star chocolate cake recipe, but even in its vastness the internet has confined limits.
The future is unknown. The phone call. The diagnosis. The accident. The disaster. The surprise. The promotion. The opportunity. The blessing. Even our best estimates and anticipations can not predict what lies along the path.
All of our technology can not produce faith to move forward along the paths of our lives to face the uncertainty that lies before us.
Packing Appropriately for the Path
Packing appropriately. It would only take a minute of digging through my purse to discover that I am a drastic over packer. This has become a running joke in my family that if someone needs something, there’s a pretty good chance Julie has it in her purse.
What is needed? A highlighter, sharpie, pens of many colors, a scissors, gum, band-aids, toothpaste, napkins, kleenex, cough drops, playing cards, business cards, chapstick, notebook, tweezer, tylenol, and because I’m kind of a numbers nerd by trade a Texas Instruments BA II Plus statistical calculator that I have had since I did my undergraduate studies. All this in addition to my wallet and phone.
I walk a fine line between being prepared to be a care taker who can offer blessings from my purse and being a worrisome control freak who over packs. Over packing brings a self inflicted burden to bear upon my shoulders.
Over packing in my purse is one thing, but what about the burden of attempting to over pack for life’s journey; attempting to prepare for all of life’s uncertainties?
My son and first born just completed his first year of college and moved into his first apartment. He’s going to a university that is a superb fit for him.
From my perspective I can clearly see the pressure building to attempt to plan a life path already. How will this class or activity taken in the next semester fit into a portfolio to present to a hiring specialist for an internship or for a career? Where do you hope to be 5 or 10 years from now?
Pack more. Take more. Prepare more. Even my youngest who will be entering her final year of middle school is exposed to the tensions of activity driven calendars in hopes of preparing provision for the path ahead.
How do I as their mother lead myself and my family in a pace of peace, not over packing or over preparing, but trusting the provision will be along the path? We do not need to have all of the answers now, the supplies now, or have it mapped out in minute detail.
“What is faith?
It is the confident assurance that
something we want is going to happen.
It is the certainty that
what we hope for is waiting for us,
even though we cannot see it up ahead.”
Hebrews 11:1 (TLB)
It takes faith to trust that the provision will lie along the path. It takes faith to face the future, faith to take the phone calls, faith to weather the storms, faith to endure the disappointments, faith to undertake the opportunities, and faith to enjoy the blessings.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him
and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Trust the Lord completely in every choice. The Bible encourages us to have an assured reliance on the character, strength, and truth of God. That we can have a confidence and dependence upon the Lord. Ever present, ever powerful, all knowing, and eternal.
Making the Right Choice
Not only do we want to have answers to our questions, we want to have the right answers. It can be easy to equate having the right answer to finding success in life. Correct answers lead to A’s in school. Correct answers lead to job opportunities. Correct answers lead to promotions. Correct answers help us to have healthy relationships.
There is a mirage that leads us to believe that correct answers lead us to live successful lives and incorrect answers bring us only trouble. Romans 3:23 (NIV) says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
All of our best attempts will never take us down a path of perfection. No matter how much time, talent, and treasure we pour into our answers in an effort to map the paths of our live in advance.
The best way to navigate uncertain paths is to trust the Lord’s provision along the way.
To Relish or Resent, that is the Question
As we face our paths in life, will we relish what we have rather than resent what is missing?
We can relish, enjoy, and delight in the ways God meets us, walks with us, and provides for us along the path.
“Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Proverbs 37:4 (ESV)
We can resent where we are, dwell on imaginings of where we could be, filling ourselves with annoyance and ill will. Sewing seeds of bitterness that take root growing to overshadow our paths and the provision along the way.
“See to it that no one falls short
of the grace of God
and that no bitter root grows up to
cause trouble and defile many.”
Hebrews 12:15 (NIV)
There is a joy and a peace that will flow into our lives if we trust God’s sufficiency to supply for the large and the small, the near and the distant needs that lie along our paths.
This is true in all circumstances and in every choice we make. If we make the “correct” choice, God is with us. If we err or even seep ourselves in sin, God is with us. If we lie down on our path, stagnating in selfishness until bitterness grows over the entire path, God is with us. If we exhaust ourselves hauling a train of trailers filled with items to meet the “what if” needs that may or may not occur, God is with us.
“Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things.
Be relaxed with what you have.
Since God assured us, ‘I’ll never let you down,
never walk off, and leave you.”
Hebrews 13:5 (Message)
God’s hand paints provision with shades of grace, mercy, and redemption all on a canvas of love. Eternal love. Lavish love, without limits. He wants us to walk with Him along our paths, delighting in His provision, allowing the Holy Spirit to help us yank out any bitterness that has taken root, and finding joy in fellowship with Jesus.
The Lord will help us prepare and pack appropriately, removing the burden upon our shoulders to anticipate it all. If we stray, we can call and know in faith we will not be alone.
The questions we have about our paths, Will things work out? When will things come together? How will ends meet? What is going to happen next? What if…?
God’s goodness and grace goes before us and behind us, hemming us in on all sides assuring us of the Lord’s character so we may trust and hope, even when we can not see.
Live it Out
Look at the path you are on right now. What questions are you facing? What are you taking with you? Are you burdened from attempting to over pack or figure out the path beyond what you can see? Are there any roots of bitterness that need to be pulled?
Take some time today to review what you know to be true of the Lord’s character. How has God provided in the past for the needs you have had on the path you have walked? What needs are you currently facing? Are you relishing in what you have or resenting what is missing?
Pray for God to reveal more of His character to you that would meet your needs and offer you new, surprising, refreshing glimpses of His love for you.
Pray Through It
Thank You for always being with us on our paths. Thank You for the richness and dependability of Your character which is unchanging and fully trustworthy. Thank you for providing faithfully for all our needs along the way.
Thank You for Your presence in the good choices, and the poor choices, for working with us to weed out the bitterness so that we may spend more time experiencing the abundance You have for us.
Lord, help us relax into what we have been given, to steward it well, and share it generously. Help us to let go of the desire to know all of the answers and to carry all of the supplies. May we seek Your guidance and direction when we face the long term, but may we have a willingness to move forward in faith when You call first and reveal later.
In the name of Jesus, whose provision makes our paths possible, amen.