A man’s steps are of the Lord;
How then can a man understand his own way?
(Proverbs 20:24, NKJV).
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve proclaimed the scriptural truth that God is the One who orders my steps, or how many times I’ve prayed and handed over a situation to God, confident that He would indeed order my steps and walk me through to victory. Then the next step became apparent, and I stopped cold in my tracks. “Lord, are you sure?” (In my heart I wondered, Does He really know what He’s doing?)
We humans are a strange bunch, aren’t we? Those of us who profess faith in Christ also profess (sometimes loudly and often) that God is in charge of our lives, that He is sovereign, that His plans for us are good ones and can be trusted. Then God calls us to take a step—just one, small step—of faith and we stand frozen with fear and unbelief. We argue with ourselves, seeking an escape from obedience: Surely God doesn’t mean that I should literally, actually do this! Maybe I’ve just misunderstood. Perhaps I should seek more godly counsel before moving ahead. The entire time we’re hoping (praying!) for an alternate route.
Looking back on my life (which is becoming a longer look with each passing year/decade!), I realize the only paths I’ve taken that ended in regret are those where I refused to take that first step of faith that God had so clearly laid out for me. Instead I rationalized going my own way, though I knew better and wasn’t surprised when I ended up at yet another dead-end, requiring an about-face (i.e., repentance!) and a long journey back.
I’m so glad God allows U-turns and welcomes us back when we repent, but wouldn’t it be easier to obey Him in the first place? It sure would avoid a lot of dead-ends and backtracking, wouldn’t it?
When God lays out that first step of faith—regardless of how intimidating it may seem—I pray we will all learn to lean into Him for strength and trust Him to carry us through to victory.