“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” (Pro. 19:21). Most people are so quick to make their own plans that they forget the purpose of the Lord for their lives. They are influenced by their parents, friends, or peers and “go it alone.” The problem is that when we ignore the will of the Lord for our lives, we run the risk of coming to ruin. How many of us have dove headlong into this or that and then lived to regret it afterward? Should we plan things ourselves? Of course, God will not email you a set of instructions to follow, but that does not mean you should not take His will into account.
As a young Bible student, I asked a lecturer how I would know if I was about to do my will or God’s. I will never forget his response. “If it is easy, it is probably your choice. Take a careful look at the more difficult choice because you may see God’s purpose in that one. He will challenge you more than you will.” We can better determine His will in our lives when we take a moment and carefully consider the choices before us. We should go to God in prayer and ask Him to provide the answer to us, and then we should be willing to follow it, even if it seems the more difficult choice is His will for us. God’s most precious gifts are the ones that are the most challenging to open. You may struggle to untie it or unwrap it. You may get a paper cut along the way, but trust me, the prize will be worth every bit of struggle. And, don’t be afraid because no challenge is greater than our God.
The Almighty sees so much that we do not, and He can steer us away from paths that will ultimately not be in our best interests. Prov. 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart,” but we have a problem doing that when personal desires like comfort, finances, location, and status are leading our thoughts. Ultimately, the purpose of the Lord will stand, but many times the road to that is paved with obstacles of our own making. We try “our” way and fight the will of the Lord only to discover in hindsight that listening to Him the first time would have prevented much hardship. Look at the example of Jonah. He would not listen to God. He even tried to run away, but where did that get him…overboard and in the belly of a sea creature. Not listening to God will not work out any better for you either because you will find yourself in a cold, dark place where the only voice you hear will be His. Then you will listen.
Pray that God will open the right doors. Believe in your heart that He is the Lord of your life, and you will find your path is made straight. That does not mean there will be no obstacles, but straight because when we follow the purpose of the Lord in our lives, our victory is assured. Jeremiah was a young man who had to deliver his message to the Israelite exiles in Babylon. In a letter, he assures them with the following words of God, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” (Jer. 29:11-12). You may not be in their predicament, but God nevertheless has a plan for your life. If you take the time to discern what His will is for your life, you will have a future and a hope. But to grab onto that, you need to call out to Him in prayer.