I was reading my Bible this morning after writing in my prayer journal (something I've done more of late; it helps me to focus and express what I'm trying to pray about), when I came across two verses that stuck out to me. What made them even more significant is that as I read them, little light bulbs were going off in my head because I had just prayed that the Lord would speak to me and guide me through reading Scripture, music, my parents, friends, just somehow.
"(18) Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
(19) See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland"
~ Isaiah 43: 18-19 (NIV).
In this chapter of the Bible, it was talking about Israel's only Savior, and God's mercy as well as Israel's unfaithfulness. No wonder I can relate to these verses... There are so many times when I have messed up, and I can truly say it is God's mercy and grace that keeps those sins and regrets at bay so they can not hurt me anymore.
(Unless, I open myself up to that and allow them to haunt me. Which God doesn't want me to do, because they're as far from Him as the east is from the west. Psalm 103: 11-12. And in case you wondered, the distance between the east and west just keeps going; they're directions not places.)
I've already shared those verses twice this morning, but I decided I wanted to write about them again even if I am the only one who reads this.
Soon after that I turned over to Proverbs and started reading chapter 9, since today is the 9th of July. That's something I had learned from a church message, and I believe Billy Graham does it (read a chapter of Proverbs everyday).
As I was flipping through trying to find the chapter, again I felt like I knew it was gonna say something else that applied to me right now. When I had written down my prayer for God to speak to me and teach me, I thanked Him for how much He has been guiding and working in my life lately, and thanked Him ahead of time because of what I knew He was going to continue doing and showing me. That's another thing I learned from a message at youth, to thank God ahead of time for what He was gonna do, not just ask for it.
Sure enough, I read this verse. . . It might be familiar to you.
"(6) Leave your simple ways and you will live;
walk in the way of understanding"
Proverbs 9: 6 (NIV).
This verse is highlighted in my Bible, I've probably heard and read it tons of times, but what really struck me this time was the last line.
. . .WALK in the way of understanding. . .
But this is how it translated in my head:
keep on praying that you will understand and seeking to do so. Walk.
What strikes me here is, first, the verse does not say to "understand" and neither does it say to "understand everything". Rather it says understanding, meaning it is present tense; we are in this moment understanding something, already on our way to trying to understand, but we haven't figured it out yet. Secondly, it says "walk in the way of ".
The way of again references to me that I am not guaranteed to understand everything, but that I should be in the process of trying to understand and heading in that direction. Does that verse strike you that way?
To me and from what I do understand, if wisdom was just being the person who understands, then I would be pretty stuck because I don't understand much. I'm the one who is still sitting here trying to understand things. But if this verse is saying- if God is saying- wisdom is "leaving your simple ways", not just twiddling my thumbs anymore, but pursuing understanding, then that I can do! I can get wisdom and answers!
Finally, the word that just *smacked* me in the face was WALK. Walking does not get you much of anywhere very fast, and I think the reason the word walk is used here is because that's the pace for gaining wisdom and understanding. It's not a run, not a mad dash, not all these leaps and jumps and staggering ahead. It is getting your legs moving in that direction. And I think when I try and demand knowledge out of God right now, when I want it, all I am doing is running in place.
Because God really is the only One who can give me wisdom and understanding. It's His stuff. But thankfully, He's willing to share and wants to.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding"
Proverbs 9: 10 (NIV).
What I am hearing here is as if God is saying:
"[Insert your name here], if you really want to know My will and what you should do with your life, then here is where I told you how to find out. You are saying that you believe My way is the best way, good! Because it is, but you do not need to know how everything will work out. If you really believe My way is best, then trust Me and do it My way. You probably won't like it sometimes because you aren't going to know everything. Some of it may seem to make no sense at all or completely waste your time, but you will have Me and you will know Me even more if you do this, and that is all you need.
I am already guiding your steps. Sometimes I may let you see that and sometimes you may not realize it. But I am completely capable and can handle this. I want you to keep walking, though it may not seem like you're getting much of anywhere. You are. So walk, because my way is going to be better than anything you ever expected."
It all seems great, right? We get on that spiritual high and we're like this is great, God, You're gonna do crazy awesome things with me! I got this! You're all I need! And then I go back out and continue on with my day, while seemingly having gotten NO CLOSER to the answers I wanted. And that bugs me. A lot sometimes.
I want to get frustrated and say things like, "Alright, I know You don't have to tell me now, I don't have to know everything, but please just tell me what You can when You can. You already know what I want and that I want answers now!" And then I feel a bit better until I realize I'm right back to where I started. Darn it!
That is what stinks about patience and what really stinks about praying for patience like I have been, you have to do stuff that requires patience! And it's not always easy! It's hardly ever easy for me. I wish God could just magically give me patience. But then again, I know He is, it's just not the way I wanted Him to.
But you know what has happened YET AGAIN?
God. Came. Through. For. Me.
Just like He tells us He will over and over again.
Suddenly I keep realizing how far I've come in my relationship with Christ over the last week just walking, writing in my prayer journal, reading my Bible, and seriously wanting to know Him and what I should do. I wasn't just doing it because I knew that's what I was supposed to do, though sometimes that is still the reason, but it was because I needed HIM and His guidance.
And my confidence in Him soared more than it ever has.
I am beginning to wonder if I have gotten farther along in my relationship with Christ by walking for a week or two than I have for the past eighteen years! Do you see how that works? Exactly opposite the way we feel it should, but it's the way it works just the same.
So how can I remember this? Remember the moment when I understood what to do before I go back into the tunnel and have to follow after that light at the end once again? How do I remember that God keeps doing exactly what He says He will? And that I saw that, literally experienced it!
I keep walking.
And by walking I mean in both ways. Exercising is something that I need to do more of physically and spiritually. Through going out there in the fresh air and getting my legs moving, I know that this is the reflection in the mirror of what is going on inside. I am praying, allowing God to be something that is real in my life, I am reading my Bible so I can know who He is, and I am talking about what I am learning, asking questions and having conversations with my godly parents, my friends, etc.
Anyone else need to go on a walk today?
Here's what wisdom has to say,
"For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD"
Proverbs 8: 35 (NIV; italicization is mine for emphasis).