Staying on Course
For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. – Psalm 48:14
Have you ever felt God asking you to do something that seemed crazy to “normal” people? Back in 2005 I was living in San Francisco, and working for Barclays Global Investors, a well-respected investment management firm. For a single guy I made great money, enjoyed (for the most part) my work, and had nine and a half weeks of paid time off every year (!!!). God had been very good to me- but I felt him nudging me to quit my job and move back to Iowa for a season to focus on rebuilding relationships with my family (especially my dad). It was a difficult decision to make - I loved my friends and church in San Francisco, enjoyed all the amazing opportunities available for exploring God’s creation, not to mention the relatively easy life my finances provided. When I got my bonus that year - an amount that nearly made me fall out of my chair - I knew what I had to do. Shortly thereafter I turned in my resignation, and on June 5th, 2005 I packed up my little Toyota Corolla AWD station wagon and hit the road for an unknown future that I trusted to my all-knowing Father.
God knew what he was doing - late that summer I learned my father needed open-heart surgery, and I was there to help take care of him for several weeks during his recovery. I got a job working with my older brother delivering furniture and appliances, and every day we got to spend time together, talking, laughing, and with the prompting of the Holy Spirit processing many of the wounds of our childhood as brothers in Christ. I reconnected with a friend from Junior High, and 15 years later we still meet regularly for times of sharing and mutual encouragement (THAT is a wow God story in itself!). Crazy in the eyes of the world? Yes. But so, so worth it!
How do we discern the will of God, especially when there are so many voices out there telling us what to do and who to trust? In his devotional “Staying on Course,” Leroy Eims gives some good advice on how to listen and respond to the Lord. He compares seeking God’s will to that of a ship’s captain guiding his boat into harbor at night. Eims says:
A Christian seeking to know the will of God is like a ship captain who must line up three lights in order to make a safe approach into the harbor. For Christians, those three lights are the Bible, the witness of the Holy Spirit, and the counsel of godly friends. When the three lights look like one, then he is on the right course.
Are you trying to discern God’s will and not sure if you’re on the right path? Take a moment for some self-reflection - are those “three lights” leading you: reading God’s Word, listening to his Spirit, and seeking wise counsel from trusted brothers and sisters in Christ? The journey may take you unexpected places, but you can move forward in faith, knowing you’re in the best possible hands!