As easily distracted as little children are, when walking with them, we have to lead the way. They may test our patience as they wander in this and that direction, but we still must lead them. If we let our little companion guide us, we’d spend the day shopping for candy and toys and maybe even cross the street without looking. It may be hard to accept, but on our walk with God, we’re the little child.
After Jesus explains to the disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, be killed, and rise again on the third day, “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying ‘Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.’” (Matthew 16:22-23) Peter thought he knew the way, that he could direct Jesus, not understanding that the Lord knows the best path for us. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) If Peter had his way in that moment, Jesus would have avoided his ultimate mission of dying on the cross, depriving desperate sinners of a Savior. Peter was like the little child, not waiting for direction, and attempting to cross the street without looking.
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning…” (Psalm 130:5-6) Waiting for God to direct us is no doubt one of the hardest things to do in life. Some feel it’s wasted time, but it’s hardly that. We can learn while we wait, gaining wisdom from God’s beautiful creation, as “Day to day pours out speech, and night to night pours out knowledge.” (Psalm 19:2) During this process of trusting God, God is busy, too. God says in Isaiah 45:2, “I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron.” God, who is beyond time, space, and matter, literally goes ahead of us and arranges our life for us.
If we’ve been like Peter, thinking maybe we know better than Jesus, and wandered from God’s perfect direction, it’s not too late. David says, “from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:1-2) Remember, God’s hand reaches to every corner of this dark world, able to rescue us and pull us back to Him. If we’re to get back on track with God, to be sure He’s leading and we’re following, we have to surrender the idea that we know the way; as Job said, “Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.” (Job 6:24)
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