“A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps”.
Proverbs 16:9 NKJV
We plan so many things in life from the time we can first start to dream. Some come to pass but others are still just a dream. Now that it’s a new year, resolutions are abounding again. We plan to lose weight. Exercise. Go to church. Spend more time with family. Quit smoking… whatever it may be, the list goes on, but how many of us actually run with our plans? Long-term that is. Not just for a short while but a life plan.
The “way” we go in life (what our heart’s plan) is a mountainous road, but our goal is to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. To the “top of the world” as they say in showbiz. We follow our hearts along the way and choose the steps that are the most convenient, most easily accessible, and most comfortable. But sometimes we slip and get cut on rocks which makes us more cautious, makes us slow down a bit, and plan more precise steps. We get in such a hurry that a setback actually works to our good because we now have more wisdom than before. A time to think, reflect, and to better plan the next one.
There may be “steps” in life that God does or does not allow us to trod on. We have all seen shallow streams with rocks laid out across it. It looks like a maze of decisions, right? The easiest and fastest way to the other side is a straight line of course, but one wrong step could send us into the water and that’s what happens sometimes. We don’t trust God to direct our steps so we take matters into our own hands, or should I say feet? We hurriedly run across trying to instantly gain our “way”, or should I say get our way. We leave God out altogether and then can’t figure why it isn’t working and even possibly, get mad at Him.
So if God directs our steps as the verse says, why don’t things work out (is what someone is thinking and what I have thought in times past)? Way down deep in our hearts we may have planned for something that never did happen, or maybe it did but not the way we thought it should. Maybe it just wasn’t God’s plan at all, but He loved us enough to let us make our own choices and stayed with us through them anyway. We may have been so high-strung that our demands got us there, but when we finally arrived… No closure… No happiness… No peace. Why? It wasn’t directed by the Lord. Now He has to direct our steps out of our mess.
The best way isn’t always a straight line, but could just very well be a maze of well-planned steps directed by God. Not every one will be easy, but we need to trust that He knows what’s best for us. Where we need to go. When to get there. What to learn along the way. And this is probably the hardest part, but most rewarding, is the battle scars we’ll pick up along the way to share stories with others about His grace and activeness in our lives.
Elder Steve Smith