One night not long ago, I was sitting at our kitchen table sipping a cup of hot tea, gazing out the back window. As I took a few moments to relax, I noticed a misty damp haze drifting towards our backyard. It wasn’t long until the neighbor’s house across the nearby field faded from view. After a little while longer, our garden had vanished, and by the time I’d drained the last bit from my teacup, even the familiar landscaping in our yard was blanketed in mist.
At times, discerning Christ’s leadership and guidance can be as clear and unmistakable as the sun on a cloudless day. But, crisis, fatigue, anxiety, or other traumatic life events can threaten to obscure even the most familiar scriptural truths of our faith. We can easily stumble and lose our way if we don’t hold fast to these guide ropes:
- The Word of God. Regardless of how confusing our situation may seem, following God’s Word is the number one way to ensure we’re walking on the right path. Consulting its wisdom will help us make good decisions even in the middle of heartache, pain, and calamity. Remember, there is no time, no circumstance, and no reason we should ever do anything forbidden by His Word, and there is no excuse for neglecting God’s instructions.
- Circumstances. Sometimes God uses the events of our lives to guide us. While that’s not always the case, repeated, providential occurrences can get our attention. We would be wise not to regard these things as simple coincidence. Learn to be sensitive to the Lord’s leading in the subtle things, realizing that unusual events could be the way God moves you toward His will.
- Wise Counsel. There is immense value in having godly friends who love you enough to speak the truth. That’s especially true when we find ourselves in a confusing position. Oftentimes, we’re so close to our own stories that we can’t see clearly enough to untangle the details. The insight of a trusted, spiritually mature friend is often just what we need to bring clarity to a hazy situation.
- Power of the Pause. Logic and reason are generally good barometers to help us cut through the fog and make sound, God-honoring decisions. However, if after consulting Scripture and seeking godly counsel, there’s something that just doesn’t sit right with you, pause. The Holy Spirit may be sending you a warning. Take time to seek God more carefully—and prayerfully—before you move forward.
- Urgency. Sometimes the Spirit of God will give you a nudge to step out and take action of some kind. There are times when God may impress you to go somewhere you’ve never been, speak to someone you don’t know well, or do something out of the ordinary. It’s then when we need to overcome our hesitancy and act in faith, remembering that the Lord may be attempting to use us as a part of His work in someone else’s life.
- Peace. Jesus promised to give us His peace (John 14:27). So, if you’re anxious and restless about a course of action, continue praying and trust God to give you His inner sense of quietness as an indication that you’re on the right track.
No matter what you’re going through, trust that your heavenly Father holds you in His hand and has a plan to use every situation to draw you into a deeper, more personal relationship with Him.
Dr. Stanley explains why we can trust God at all times in his message “What to Expect,” now airing on radio.