As this year has been a great illustration of, often those plans just get tossed right out the window. That seems to be the new normal as of 2020!
When the plans for everything changed drastically at the beginning of this pandemic, I struggled with what my next steps should be in certain areas of my life like exercise. I have NEVER been a runner! In fact, my friends know that, if I am running, they should be concerned because there must be something or someone chasing me! But since the gyms here in England closed for the foreseeable future, I began to entertain the idea of outdoor running for my exercise. At first, it was quite a chore. But I noticed, as the weeks went by, that I was beginning to get better at it; and I was even enjoying it to some extent! I discovered some pretty areas near my home and began to recognize some of the same people along my jogging route.
One older gentleman in particular seemed to be there standing along the side of the path with a smile on his face waving at me as I jogged past. We’ll call him Aaron. I have to admit that I wasn’t being very sensitive to the Lord’s leading at first concerning Aaron. I was out on my planned exercise for the day with a mission in mind. But the Lord began speaking to my heart about stopping to speak to Aaron. I had waved and said hello many times, but I had never actually stopped to engage in conversation with him.
It was as if the Lord directed my exact steps to end my program that day right where Aaron was standing. Pure coincidence, right? I don’t believe that one bit! I was able to introduce myself and share some of my faith with him that day.
You see God was directing my steps, literally, that day and many other days since to give me a chance to engage in a redemptive relationship with this elderly gentleman. I am convinced of God’s direction in this relationship as I have often made plans to go running based on the weather or other events planned in the day and have continued to run into this same man time and again. There was even one day recently when the weatherman failed me and I got soaked in an unexpected downpour! But God had that planned for me to have another opportunity to speak truth into this man’s life. Some would say that it’s all just a coincidence. But I would argue that God’s Word often speaks to His directing our lives in a way that brings Him all the glory.
Look at a couple verses with me concerning this idea:
"A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps." Proverbs 16:9
We make plans for our lives, but it is the Lord who determines how those things will be played out for His ultimate glory. Planning is not a bad thing. In fact, I believe the Lord wants us to be prepared and plan for the future. James 4:14-15 encourages us to live our lives EACH DAY for the Lord because we don’t know what tomorrow will hold. But we need to be talking with the Lord about what those next steps should be in our lives should He give us another chance to serve Him.
"Order my steps in Thy Word; and let not any iniquity have dominion over me." Psalm 119:133
The Psalmist prays here that God would make his steps firm according to the truths found in God’s Word. This is why it is imperative that, as believers, we spend time with the Lord each day so that He can direct our steps and guide us in the way He knows will bring Him the most glory. The second part of the verse reminds us that allowing God to direct us will keep us from being dominated by the wickedness in this world.
You might be thinking, “How in the world am I supposed to get started in letting God direct my life?” It is simple really – follow in the footsteps of our Lord!
"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps:” 1 Peter 2:21
Following the Lord’s direction does not promise us an easy path in life. In fact, Peter spent the majority of the book of 1 Peter explaining that, if we are God’s children, there will be suffering and difficulty in life. But those times of suffering and difficulty are so much easier to walk through knowing that God is directing our steps. He has already been here. He knows the struggles that we face because He lived on this earth and was faced with the same struggles and temptations of this world. But He set the perfect example for us to follow in how to handle these times of difficulty and uncertainty. Those nuggets of truth are found in His Word if we are willing to seek Him there.
Letting God be your guide requires that you are seeking to follow Christ in all you do – even in the simple things of life like exercise! Don’t be discouraged when God changes your plans or allows an unexpected hurdle for you to traverse. He is there with you and is ordering your steps for your good and His glory. Look for His working in those delays and hurdles and allow Him to direct your steps. He may be leading you to an amazing ministry opportunity that you don’t want to miss! Who is directing your steps today?
How has God changed your plans lately with an unexpected hurdle for you to traverse?
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