Volume: 935 December 4, 2023
Read the FREE typeset version of this newsletter at https://openthoumineeyes.com/newsletters.html (Click on #935). Use it for your church bulletin inserts or as a ministry handout.
Lord, What Would You Have Me Do?
“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
In this treasure trove of God’s wisdom, Proverbs 16:9 explains why some of what is happening in lives is often not understood. The reason, especially for the child of God, may be God is directing one’s path in the direction He knows is best for them.
We often have plans and goals, but many times they do not coincide with what God’s will for our lives is. Some dream of being a doctor, nurse, pilot, police officer, or what they are interested in doing, but never consider what God has for them to do.
No one knows us better than God, and he may know that the direction we desire for ourselves may hurt and keep us from what is best for us. Each of us has unique abilities, and only God knows what they are and where they should best be exercised in this needy world.
As a visually handicapped person may need more guidance than a seeing-eye dog or a prodding white cane, so do we. We think we know best but are often blind to what is good for us. Unsure and unknowingly, we stumble through life searching for what to do.
When we are about to make wrong steps in harmful directions, it is then that the Lord may step in and redirect us. Often, we may not like where we are going, but trusting faith should reason with us that Father knows best. God’s way will be better for us than we could ever have imagined.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” Psalm 37:23
“For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Psalm 91:11
“He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.”
“C’mon, girl, let’s go for a walk,” I beckoned to the tail-wagging Labrador Retriever.
After I clipped the short leash to her collar, I walked off, expecting her to follow. Quickly, I realized there was no dog on the other end. Buddi had tucked her head and slipped out of her collar.
“Hmmm.” I put the collar back on, with the leash still clipped on. As I again tried to take her for a walk, she firmly sat, refusing to go.
Her tail wagged seriously. She apparently wanted to roam the walking path, but did not want to be hooked to the restricting tether. Buddi wanted to run wherever she wanted to go in the woods.
Then we had the master to dog talk. “Listen, Buddi, I see you want to go out,” her tail wagged in agreement, “but you must be on the leash. You don’t understand what could happen out there without my protection. Why a snake could strike you as you curiously inspect a slithering reptile that you have never seen before. Or you could walk in some tall weeds and pick up a load of ticks. If you go to the wrong place, you just might get sprayed by Mr. Skunk near the grapes. Buddi, this leash is for your protection. I can guide you safely as we walk if you would trust me to lead you.”
Folks, and even Christians, are much like the rebellious dog. They do not want anyone telling them what to do, especially God. Why? They believe his commandments will dampen their style, although most have never read about His will and way found in the Bible. Many see God’s commandments as a leash limiting their freedom and “fun.”
What little they know about God’s requirements may have been heard from an unreliable source. Often, they may have heard part of His Word or never stopped to consider the context of the Bible verse. Quickly, they jump to a conclusion that is not biblical. Even if they hear a clear biblical commandment, they still will not obey their Creator.
Most people are naturally rebellious to anyone telling them what to do. Many give little credence to certain laws, what parents say, school rules, employer’s requirements, and anyone else that hampers their doing their own “thing.”
However, God is not like anyone else. He created man. He knows humanity’s limitations, what lurks unseen in their lives that will hurt them, and what will help them. The watch care offered by our Maker is for our good.
God’s “leash” is not meant to be burdensome. His guiding help is from an all-seeing and knowing God who wants to keep us safe and help us. Our aimless, often temptation-led life can lead us to harm. He loves us more than we can imagine and wants the best for us.
Follow God’s will and way for a productive and better life. Lose the rebellious attitude and obey the One that only desires what will help and bless you!
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:2-5
Every single person has struggles. What God allows in a person’s life often is meant to help them grow closer, stronger, and more reliant on the Lord.
The trials another is going through may not seem to be so bad to others, but God knows that it is what is needed to test their mettle. After successfully going through their trials, they will be able to face future storms that are allowed in their life and even encourage those with similar experiences.
I was better able to realize the importance of our going through trials and tribulations after examining a picture of a lighthouse. That one particular lighthouse was engulfed in waves, yet it still upheld its important purpose and was where it would do the most good.
A lighthouse is a tall structure that houses a bright light for sea-going vessels to see. In the darkest of nights or piercing through stormy weather, ships can immediately know that they are getting close to a shoreline or dangerous, submerged rocks by seeing the tower’s warning beacon.
Although most lighthouses were constructed high above any danger from a storm’s crashing waves, this one was not. This particular lighthouse was barely above sea level, where it often was battered by ocean waves.
The picture I saw was of the La Jument Lighthouse in northwestern France. It was constructed in a place where there were many shipwrecks. Between 1888 and 1904, there were 31 wrecks in the lighthouse’s area. A wealthy French man, who almost experienced death in a shipwreck, knew how vital the lighthouse would be and financed its construction.
Because of its dangerous location and tumultuous engulfing waves, the beacon was started in 1904 but was not finished until 1911. Its foundation was hewn in solid rock and barely stood out of the water. There are times that the 154-foot-tall tower is battered by 65 to 97-foot waves. Many pictures have been taken of the lighthouse boldly standing with waves appearing to cover the beacon completely.
Despite its construction’s hardships, it still stands and has saved many lives and shipwrecks. It was a savior to many because it was built where it was most needed. If it did not experience all the violent waves it has, it would not be where it could warn and spare so many lives.
Like the La Jument lighthouse, those Christians who have faced tremendous hardships, trials, weathered their “storms,” and are still standing are an important encouragement and boost to the hope and faith of many around them. If they had not gone through such difficult times, they may not have been the “light” that gives others hope and inspiration to withstand their storms. Most may not know why they faced so many difficulties, but God may have used their experiences to guide others to safe harbors.
Observing eyes are often on those who proclaim to be children of God. They are often scrutinized for their behavior through trials and difficulties. When they react like the unsaved and scream, holler, and curse when in the pit of despair, the name of “Christian” gets one more black eye as they are a poor testimony.
However, those who have their foundations anchored when in adversity enable them to continue to stand proud and tall after being bludgeoned by what the world recognizes as terrible experiences. They are the “lighthouses” that shine through the gloom of affliction. They are the ones who can give others hope that they, too, can weather their storms.
The survivors of tremendous adversity also show that a foundation based on biblical principles can help others weather through whatever they have to face. Their perseverance and strength prove that Christ can lead the way through whatever a person faces.
The pounding “waves” in your life can either make you shake your fist at God or draw you closer to Him for His help. How does the world see you faring through your trials?
Is your perseverance through what God has allowed you to experience a beacon of hope and victory, or is it making it clear that you have no expectation or directing “light” to guide you through your trials? Be a La Jument Lighthouse and show that God can give you the strength to withstand your ordeal.
“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Psalm 18:2
“He who knows no hardships will know no hardihood. He who faces no calamity will need no courage. Mysterious though it is, the characteristics in human nature which we love best grow in a soil with a strong mixture of trouble”
— Harry Enersib Fosdick