Everyone wants to know what their direction in life ought to be. But can we really know that sort of thing? Isn’t life what we make it? To some degree life is what we make it, but only to a small degree. Our direction, our steps, are ordered by a Director of the highest authority and today we find the keys to knowing what that direction is.
Who’s steering this ship anyway?
Ever been on a big ship of any kind? I’ve been on ferry boats, as a matter of fact, Robin and I and the girls have been on the ferry between Toronto and Centre Island. We were just there two summers ago. We waited in line for tickets, waited in line to board, and we all walked up the gangplank into the boat. We found a place to stand along the railing and it was a sun shiny day, beautiful. Lots of people! Of various stripes. Young couple. A number of non-white families, like Indian or Pakistani. Asian folks. They all had their individual or family stories going. Finally the ropes were loosed and with a toot and a rush of the engines, we pulled out of the ferry slip. Lots of boat traffic. The situation was way out of my hands to control. But I was at peace, because of two factors. One, there was an experienced captain on the job. He was steering and maneuvering the boat to avoid the problems and get us safely into the slip on the Centre Island side. And two, he had a plan to follow and he was following it. We got there, and back just fine, largely because of those two factors. And even though there were many other life stories on that boat, we all were being directed from one place to another together.
David put out there the same kind of question we began with. Is there anybody steering this boat of life or do we just randomly drift? Are we the captains of our own destiny or does someone else have the helm?
Let’s read the first five verses of Psalm 37:
1 Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
We see all kinds of wrong around us. But it’s the wrongdoers, the guys in our class who cheat on their tests and seemingly get away with it, the co worker that gets ahead even though they’re cheating the company, the ones that are near us and affect us that especially bug us. Can you believe that he/she is getting away with that? And by the way, how did I get here anyhow?
Here David points them out but at the same time tells us, don’t get frustrated and don’t envy those who do wrong or evil and seemingly get away with it. And don’t be frustrated that you’re near enough to them that you feel their wake. Why?
Because grass and herbs don’t cut themselves down. They will be cut down and wither soon enough. What does that tell us? That there’s someone, outside their/our control, that directs this ship, that farms this field, knows what’s going on and acts.
But here’s another broad question. If God is steering this ship, can I know what the destination might be? Can I know where I’m supposed to be going and know my specific direction? Or is it all a mystery that I can’t know and maybe I could miss what God has for me?
You can know, at least in general, God’s specific direction for your life. He has no problem speaking to you and isn’t miserly with His plan. He does have a plan! And here’s how you can know it.
It starts and ends with your relationship with the Director.
Proverbs 16.9 says “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”
If you understand this, it means that you can plan and direct all you want. But the actual destination? That’s up to God. If you don’t know Him, don’t intend to know Him, it doesn’t matter. He will end you up in the destination most appropriate for you, and that includes results that you don’t like that you can do nothing about. Why? Because He wants to drive you to know Him when you’ve come to the end of yourself. You will go to the most spiritually appropriate place in life.
But the steps of one who has a relationship with Him and wants to follow His plan, He has a good end intended for them. Someone who knows Him can follow these directions to learn what his or her specific direction looks like.
This means that you lay aside your fears and anxieties and rest on Him. That usually requires a deep breath and some prayer, especially if you are new to this. And you continue doing good or start doing what you know is good and right, not responding to evil wrongly.
I accidentally put myself in a potentially difficult situation. I sent my passport to the Chinese Consulate in NYC for a visa. I didn’t think about needing it for Guatemala tomorrow. It was very hard for me to trust Him to work it out. But after prayer and loads of friends praying with me, the Lord sped the process and I have the passport in hand. I could have thrown a fit, been mean to Robin and the girls, broken something. But I attempted to do good while trusting Him. And He worked it out. And I know for sure I’m supposed to go tomorrow morning. Direction.
Dwell in the Land and feed on His faithfulness. Direction is most often to stay with what you’re doing now and finish it. He can redirect you, of course. But if you’re in school, finish your degree. If you’re in a job, career, do your best at it until He moves you on, don’t just quit without notice. He is faithful to help you deal with your current situation. In one point in the NT, there’s a question and an answer. Are you married? Don’t seek to not be married. Ever wonder if you married the right person? They became the right person if they weren’t. So dwell and feed on His faithfulness to help you serve and love your spouse.
God is more than a ship’s captain or a stage director. He is your Heavenly Father. And your purpose has more to do with your relationship with Him than anything else. Make Him your delight. If He is your chore, if He is the broom you take out of the closet once in a while to sweep away the problems on the floor, you’re not delighting in Him. Worship, Word, Fellowship should be an absolute delight to you. Or you can become that way. And if you do…
If He is honestly your delight, you can look inside at what you want to do, your desires, and know that your design is indicative of your destiny. Lord, I would love to be able to do this. Be here. Accomplish that for You. That’s very close to His ultimate direction for your life. That’s direction!
Commit your way, that direction, to the Lord. Trust Him for the seemingly impossible barriers between you and what you desire in your heart to do for Him and with Him. The verse says to “Commit your way to the Lord.” the word “commit” means to roll, roll something off of me and onto another. What do you do when you want to move something too heavy to lift? You roll it if it’s round and put rollers under it if it isn’t. Roll your way, the path to His plan, onto His very broad shoulders. Be careful. Desires can become idols. Don’t let them become that. You hold your desires, your life vision, with an open hand.
Bottom line: God is the Source of your direction. And you can go to Him in deep and abiding relationship and find out what you were made for. He can get you there. Be certain of that. Roll it on over to Him. Will you have to work hard? Yes. Will you struggle at times? Absolutely. Will you not see all of how He will get you to where you’re supposed to go? Yes. But in all of that, if you can trust Him, even blindly, He will direct you to where He knows you’re best life resides. The path can be downright tough at times. But here’s the promise:
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.
Don’t forget that the only way a person is good is when they are born again and made good with Jesus’ goodness.
How’s your relationship with God?
Do you delight in Him?
Are you entrusting your future to Him, even when you can’t see how this current situation applies to your future direction?
Are you laying on the ground right now? You will get back up and make it. Because the Lord holds hands with you.
Direction is from the Lord. Get it right with Him and you’ll know where you belong. Because all direction and fulfillment comes from and through Him.