God Tells Us Just Enough
“In 400 feet, make a slight right to turn onto Tremont St.”
“Stay on I-90E for 11 miles”
“Take Exit 24 A-B-C, I-93S/I-93N, toward Concord NH”
Gotta love Google Maps. I’ve been using it a lot lately since I’m still learning how to get around the city. And I’m becoming more and more aware of just how incompetent I am when it comes to navigation, and how much one has to drive the same road before they know which road to turn onto.
Because I have never moved houses and come from a small town, I usually can do a pretty good job of figuring out where I’m going. However, driving in a city over 100x larger than my hometown has been quite the adjustment. As I have been driving in and around the city, I have been using Google Maps (GPS) since I’m still very unfamiliar with the roads and how each connects to where I need to go. When I first started using my GPS, I had been riding with people for a while, so I knew generally which way to go and what roads to look for. I was trying not to be too reliant on what the GPS said but to use what little of the roads I knew to get me to my destination.
I remember the first time I drove in the city alone. Trying to find my way home was an adventure! I hit 3:00 traffic, made so many wrong turns, and finally got home after an hour and a half of driving when it should have only taken me 30-45 minutes.
A lot of the reason it took me so long is because of the attitude I held that I also verbalized to my phone, “Umm…I don’t know that route, and this looks familiar, so I’m going to turn here instead of where you’re telling me to turn.”
Eventually I made it back; but that was just the beginning of me re-learning this lesson the Lord has been teaching me.
See, I’m one that likes to generally know where I’m going and what I’m doing. I like to be able to say I have a general plan for my future, even if the specific details are unclear. However, God doesn’t usually work that way, and I’ve been learning more and more how He really shows us what we need to know when we need to know it.
I’ve been studying Joshua a lot recently. Something that has been striking to me from the beginning of the book is the way God leads His people through conquering the nations. He never gives them the whole plan for all the battles, rather, He gives them one instruction at a time. He supplies them with what they need to know to accomplish the next thing. Note: He does give them the end goal by saying that everywhere the Israelites walk, He has given them the land, just as He promised Moses (Joshua 1:3). And before He tells them what to do for each battle, He says, “See, I have given [them] into your hand, with [their] king and mighty men of valor” (Joshua 6:2, 8:1b, 10:8). However, He doesn’t give the Israelites every single battle strategy for defeating Ai (chapter 8) when they are about to conquer Jericho (chapter 6). Instead, He gives the Israelites the information they need—details, specifications and all—for the battle they face next. Once they have completed that, He gives them the next step.
I think this process shows the kindness of God. If I were with the Israelites as they were getting instructions from the Lord on how to fight and conquer the land He had promised them, I would be paralyzed with fear and feelings of being overwhelmed if He gave us the plan for every battle up front. And then, assuming I remembered all the details (which I wouldn’t), I would be so proud that I remembered what God had said instead of knowing that my ability to remember things leads me more toward sin and disobedience than obeying God’s instructions. I would take the credit instead of making known the name of the Lord.
So often I think I’m waiting on the Lord and trusting Him, when really it’s just Lillie trusting herself while God is waiting for her to rest in Him and His timing. And I think a lot of the reason I’m so quick to find direction in myself is 1) because I’m a depraved human whose sin—as well as the effects of original sin—go so deep I can’t help but want to find satisfaction in anything apart from Christ, and 2) I believe the lie that my ways are better than God’s ways and my ideas are better than His…WRONG…(see Isaiah 55:8-9).
I’m realizing that this innate desire to become stressed or worried when I don’t see the next step clearly stems from something greater than just wanting to be in control—unbelief. If I’m worried that the God of the universe has forgotten me, I do not believe the countless promises from the Lord that are found in the Bible. If I am worried about what the next step is in my life, do I really believe that God is enough? If I believe that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in those who are in Christ (Romans 8:9-11)—therefore He lives in me—but I don’t believe that He has the power and ability to make clear what I am to do next, do I really understand who God is?
If I can trust a global positioning system (developed by sinful and broken humans) to get me from Point A to Point B—understanding that, though I am stuck in traffic, as I near my necessary exit it will tell me when to take it—why don’t I believe that God (the righteous and perfect King of the world) can reveal to me not only what I am to do next, but also how He has prepared me for the good work (which He prepared beforehand, meaning it’s been in motion for a while) in which I am to walk (Ephesians 2:10)?
Brother and sister in Christ, be reminded that not only does the God who created the world and set it in motion (Genesis 1:1-2:25) know your thoughts (Psalm 94:10b-11; 139:2), but He also knows your future and knows which “exit” you should take—and even which “exit” you will take—and will lead you (Psalm 23:2-3; Proverbs 3:5-8, 16:9, 19:21). Rest knowing that as you spend time getting to know your Father, your desires will begin to align with His, and you will begin to see where He is leading you and what He has prepared for you.
Praise God we don’t have to know everything, and praise God that we can ask for wisdom and He will give it liberally (James 1:5-8)!