The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Guidance
Higher Hands Are Leading Me
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 is one of the most profound verses in all the Bible. It is both a promise and a warning. You make your plans, but God determines which way you’re going to go.
Often God’s guidance comes through suddenly changing circumstances. Have you ever had that happen to you? You had your life all planned out. You were going this way. You were convinced that God’s will was this way. Then the phone call came that changed the course of your life. Or the boss called you in and said, “We’re downsizing. Your job has been eliminated.” Or the letter came that said, “You are an excellent candidate, but unfortunately our incoming class is full.” Or you asked her to marry you, “knowing” it was the will of God, but she hadn’t discovered it yet-and said no. The investment you counted on for retirement didn’t come through. You get cancer. When these troubles occur, we think something has gone wrong in the universe. God has made a mistake. This couldn’t have happened this way.
Please read the next sentence carefully. What you call circumstance is really the sovereign hand of God in your life. Every circumstance that comes into your life, whether good or bad-all of them together have come down to you from the good and gracious hand of God. They are all ultimately for your benefit and for His glory.
Proverbs 16:9 tells us that it didn’t happen by chance. It never does for the people of God. Who is it that opens the doors? It’s God! Who is it that shuts the doors? It’s God! Who gives opportunities? It’s God! Who takes them away? It’s God! He is the One who is in charge.
While rummaging through an accumulated mountain of mail, I came across an article about “the prevenient grace of God.” The phrase-which was new to me- refers to “the grace that goes before.” Here’s a working definition: “In every situation of life God is already at work before I get there. He is working creatively, strategically, and redemptively for my good and His glory.”
So many times I tend to limit my thinking to the fact that God’s presence goes with me as I go through life. That’s true, but it’s only part of the story. He’s not only with me now, He’s already way up the road ahead of me.
Or to say it another way: While I’m living in Tuesday, He’s clearing the road for me on Friday. Or to say it yet another way: God is already at work providing solutions for problems I don’t even know I have yet.
Are you worried about next week? Forget it. He’s already there. How about next year? Don’t sweat it. He’s already there. What about that crucial meeting next week? Sleep well. He’s already there. What about that tough decision that looms ahead of you? Fear not. He’s already there.
It would be enough if God simply walked with you through the events of life. But He does much more than that. He goes ahead of you, clearing the way, arranging the details of life, so that when you get there, you can have confidence that He has already been there before you.
That’s the prevenient grace of God. He goes before His people. He’s at work in the future while we live in the present.
Thank you, Lord, for taking charge of the details of my life. Amen.
When was the last time an unexpected circumstance changed your life? How can you see God’s hand in that situation?
What are your greatest worries right now? Are you willing to trust God with them?
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