No Crystal Ball (March 2022)
I ‘felt led’ toward the topic of healing in my last post. Some of the feedback received might confirm this focus was right.
But… how accurate are ‘feelings’ and cognitive connections in knowing that our path is being guided by God?
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” (Psalms 32:8)
In terms of my church involvement, I have tried to make a few connections lately and even sent emails to church leaders. An arranged meeting was cancelled for understandable reasons of priority and capacity.
Plan A: Knock on a door to see if it will open.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
Is no door opening a test of my faith, requiring another knock to show I’m serious?
Should I knock on a different door?
Is this door knocking for first relational commitment, or an ongoing process?
Is door knocking the right approach for guidance?
Anything beyond Plan A?
At times I’ve said to myself, if X happens this will suggest He wants me to do Y! I’ve heard the ‘super spiritual’ say similar. They sometimes report things God has told them.
Sometimes these do not align with what others claim He’s told them about the same issue.
People get things wrong. Does what we hear align with scripture?
For me, specific events rarely signpost any next steps. When asking for guidance, I often feel frustrated by what I perceive to be lack of response and clarity.
It’s more Theodicy to me. He loves me. He has a plan for my life. Why won’t he tell me what it is? If I’m honest, would I want to be instructed like a puppet?
Good things regularly come from God without asking. I can exemplify these. Many gifts arrive unnoticed and are taken for granted. Some I have only recognised much later.
Gifts are not a response to premeditated strategic tests of His love.
Plan B: Lay out a fleece
But testing and signs are biblical, aren’t they?
Remember Gideon laid a fleece and told God if it became wet he’d do X, if dry he’d do Y. He used this method despite having not learned from experience.
He just wanted to be sure so tested further. That’s OK, isn’t it?
Even Gideon knew this was not the best approach with God.
“Then Gideon said to God, Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew.” (Judges 6:39)
Gideon’s request for signs demonstrates a weak and immature faith. God had already told him what to do. (Judges 6:14)
Did he have poor prior learning, poor memory and poor hearing? Or is it poor obedience, poor faith and poor trust.
An imperfect human, like the rest of us. Need more faith today?
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
Plan C: Any other signs.
Jesus performed many miracles. Despite these, religious leaders asked for more signs to demonstrate His authority.
“He answered, A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Mat 12:39-40)
There is a lot of theology to discuss here, but to me, I am simply reminded that despite our situation we need to remember Jesus died for us and we have new life because of this. New life should be our focus for self and service.
So how do we hear from God and know what he wants.
It’s easy to be a spiritual hypocrite.
“These people honour me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are just human rules.” (Mat 15:8-9)
We need His word to keep us on the right track. We should hold back and do our best to control self-centered, misguided, emotion. I find this hard.
Post-accident I have ‘emotional lability’ due to damage to the front of my brain. For me therefore, the most calm, reliable, and reasoned source of guidance comes from the bible.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Guided by scripture, I will remain connected with Him and keep my faith and witness on track. His word is always within reach and even on my phone. I’ll press on thoroughly equipped.
We do need to keep focused on the big picture and not lose perspective by getting too close to out of context detail.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Col 3:16)
Conclusion. What next?
In truth, I don’t know what is next. No-one but God knows the future.
It is dangerous to seek guidance from Fortune Cookies, Crystal Balls, Fortune Tellers and paranormal spirituality offered by a whole variety of mystics and spiritualists.
If you don’t stand for something, you can fall for anything.
Education and experience help inform and guide future options. So should faith.
For me, health has become a cognitive, known unknown. We all have uncertain future health, but when healthy, it can be too easy to assume you always will be.
In truth, health issues make any detailed personal planning pointless for me right now. Too many unknown key variables to consider.
I’ll just try new things and accept I might fail. At least I’ll have tried.
Like everyone else, I will have to wait and see what’s next.
Another year of posts, April 2022-April 2023? I’m not even sure of that.
There are an infinite number of possible futures this side of eternity. I am beginning to write values-driven, short secular professional pieces. Will this take more of my time and purpose? God knows. Literally, not sarcastically.
Onward and forward guided by His word. Goodbye for now.
Recent writing for work (Feb 2022)