July 12, 2016
How to Know When to Go
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21, ESV)
Friend to Friend
Ants have been known to ruin a picnic or two, but recently they messed up my beach time and flustered my heart.
Yeah. I know. God made ants to live on the earth and we have to share space. But I just wasn’t prepared for my first afternoon away from home to be altered by the annoyance of their small yet mighty presence.
I’d really been looking forward to vacation and wanted to relax. To sit by the shoreline, chill out, and soak in the sun with my people. I wanted to enjoy the presence of God in the glory of His creation, not flick uninvited ants away from my towel and off my legs.
No rest was happening because it seemed that all of the ants in America had arranged a massive dance party on the East Coast and had failed to inform me ahead of time.
I had to leave. The ants didn’t want me to join their beach party and I didn’t want to be there. I walked away disappointed and threw a little tantrum in my head. Why should I have to leave? I’m the human here! Ants are supposed to hang out in the dirt, not the sand!
So I adjusted my plans and went to the pool instead.
There are times in life when things don’t work out as planned. Times when our expectations go unmet and we have to move on or make major adjustments. You might feel like you are spinning your wheels in a relationship. Maybe you haven’t moved on from something because you don’t like to quit - even though your time and energy might be more effectively spent elsewhere.
I don't know the particulars of your unmet expectations and beach-ant frustrations, but God does. Even if you haven’t talked with Him about them yet. And you’re not alone. We all have to wade through cloudy waters at times.
The Apostle Paul continually found himself in situations that were uncomfortable and frustrating. He was re-routed many times as he was rejected, thrown out of towns, beaten, and jailed. The Lord kept him from going to certain areas and led him in his journeys. (Acts 16:6) Through it all, Paul yielded his days to God’s leading. And that’s what I want to do.
We can't change hearts or make people do what we want them to do. Yes, God may have called you to a ministry, a person’s life, etc. for a season of time, but that doesn’t mean you will stay on that beach forever.
Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
So how can we know when to stay and when to go? How can we know whether we should say yes or no to that opportunity? How can we know when our uncomfortable situation is to refine us, to rebuke us or to re-route us?
There’s no simple answer, but there is a simple action: PRAY. Christians don’t have a crystal ball that shows us our future, but we do have access to God who delights to inform and lead His children.
Ask God for direction. Be still before Him and listen. Be faithful to go where He leads… even if it means that you need to change your plans, your attitude, your location or vocation.
Dear God, Please forgive me for the times when I am stubborn and unmovable. I want to go where You lead. Please direct my steps and help me to know what to do next about _______________ .
In Jesus’s Name I pray,
Now It’s Your Turn
Proverbs 11: 14 says, “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is victory.” Are you applying this principle in your life? What godly people do you go to when you need advice and prayer?
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