“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
We desire to be in control of our destiny. We plan to accomplish our dreams and goals. We hope for sunny days and clear sailing through life.
The problem is that life shows us we are not in control. Around many bends in the road, there are new challenges and issues that affect what we do. We learn we can’t see ahead. We don’t control the future. Many of our dreams are beyond our ability to implement.
The obvious question is, “Why can’t our dreams and plans come true?” It seems that a loving God would be much like a grandfather that expresses his love for his grandchildren by giving them everything they want. Years ago, I introduced by preschool grandchildren to chocolate. Their “health conscious” mom allowed snacks that were very good, nutritious, and (my opinion) bland. In three days, I totally derailed their diet. I thought it was fun to see them happy. Their Mom thought it was better they are healthy. She had the better goal.
So it is with God. We wish the Lord would be our loving provider of every whim. But God loves us too much to provide things that please for the moment but fail to mature us in the long run. The Lord guides us to what is better!
In addition, the Lord sees the future when we can’t. He knows the steps we need to take today to reach our destiny He has prepared for us. Life is more than what we experience in the present. Life is eternal. Life is more than what this world offers. Life is fulfilled in heaven. Life on earth is like spring training in football. The training may seem brutal and unforgiving, but it is a necessary step to be a winner when we end the season.
So, how can I have a better understanding about what I face today? First, I must admit I never was in control of life. I don’t have the ability to create everything I wish I had. Second, I must admit I can’t see much further than the end of my nose. I am oblivious to what preparation I need to be equipped to meet tomorrow. Thirdly, I realize I dream of what seems fun and easy more than what is best and profitable.
Accepting who I am and what are my limits, I realize God offers several supports I need. God helps me make the right step everyday that improves the future. For those who listen, God directs every dream, thought, word, and action. When this occurs, the day seems more peaceful. Secondly, God only gives good guidance. When God corrects my plans, I can assume He is faithfully guiding me to the best option.
If you feel in conflict with God, consider a few check points. Ask yourself, “How much does God care about me?” The answer is revealed in God’s actions when He sent Jesus to pay for your entrance into eternity. If He can love us while we were yet sinners, He can love us when we walk with Him. Ask yourself, “How much does God know?” The same Lord who put all we enjoy into existence is the One who is in control. He knows the number of hairs on your head. God’s perceptions of life are far more accurate than ours. Listen to His instruction. Ask yourself, “Can I allow God to be in control of life?” Real life centers around God, not us. Maybe we just need to admit, there is a comfort when we don’t need to control everything. Let God guide today and tomorrow will make sense when we anticipate God is on our side. He is not against us!
Dr. John Temple is chaplain of the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office. From the Shepherd’s Heart is published Fridays in The Meridian Star.