“I just haven’t heard from the Lord yet. I don’t know whether He wants me to take the job in Denver or the one in California. I just want to be where God wants me. Why won’t He just tell me???”
I could almost see her wringing her hands through my cell phone. Her anxiety more apparent with each question.
I could remember times in my life that were just like this – when I felt the same way.
Just this week, I was studying a passage in the Book of Acts. It’s where the apostles have to replace Judas – because, well, he was pretty much out of the picture after his guts spilled out all over the field and all. If you are confused, just read Acts 1 – it really happened! Anyway, here’s how it went:
And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias, and he was added to the eleven apostles.” Acts 1:25-26
So you might be asking, “Why replace him? Why not just be The Eleven?” Well first, to the apostles and any good 1st-century Jewish person, the number “12” was a good number. So sticking to it would’ve been attractive. Second, and more importantly, Judas’ replacement was predicted a long time ago in the Scriptures, and they knew that. So replacing him was just keeping with what God has already revealed to them. (see Ps 69:25 and Ps 109:8)
There are two important things to notice about this little interaction here. They didn’t wring their hands. They didn’t fret over the decision. And they didn’t make a decision and then revisit it a half-dozen times out of fear (that’s the one I struggle with!)
So what did they do? They prayed. And they trusted.
Now, I’m not saying that our new method for figuring out God’s Will for my life is throwing some dice. Not at all. This was something that we find used in the Old Testament and would’ve been pretty familiar to these guys. How God revealed His will isn’t the point here. The point is that they first prayed. They invited God into the process and asked for Him to lead. And then they trusted that their Good Shepherd would make it clear.
We’ve got to understand that a Good Shepherd will always do what is best for His sheep. Will He always show the sheep exactly where to place each foot? Of course not. But if there is a best path, or one that will bring the sheep into danger, you can bet that He will make that known to them. Especially when the sheep have asked Him to! Remember when Jesus says, “I will not leave you like sheep without a shepherd..”?
When we invite God’s leading, we can be confident in following.
And when we invite God’s leading and we don’t sense any clear direction, it could be because God is saying, “I am making you more like me everyday – so your desires are more like mine everyday too. So you can choose. I will bless whichever one you pick.”
So the next time you are faced with a decision and need God’s direction, invite Him in. And then watch for His leading. If it isn’t clear, trust that He is still leading and follow confidently, knowing that you are in the hands of a Good Shepherd.