In the Back 9 I have learned to love the phrase, “There are many ways to skin a cat.” I think I had to live life a while to understand there can be different ways to achieve the same goals and everyone doesn’t have to follow the same path to get the end result. For example…..in our culture the norm is to graduate high school, then attend at least four years of college….and maybe then more school (getting an MBA)…..to be qualified to be a success. Remember, that is the norm….but there are those kids, a.k.a. Bill Gates….that quit college to pursue their dreams. Some kids graduate high school and take a gap year to work or travel…so they can either figure out what they want to do or maybe they feel the need to get their life together. Some kids don’t have the money to go to college so they enter the workplace immediately….that would be my dad, who I think has been very successful. This is just one example of various ways to get to a satisfying career path.
I believe everyone would want the end result which would be one of success, satisfaction and fulfillment. What I have found to be true is that people who place their trust in Christ and allow Him to rule their lives often find that Christ takes them in directions that may not make sense to others, or to them, but it is His perfect plan for that person. Understanding isn’t always part of the equation…that is where trust and faith come in. Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”
For example, when Jesus was born, Herod the king was seeking to kill Jesus so God warned Joseph in a dream. Matthew 2:12, “And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up, he said, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet; ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.'”
How do we apply this true story about Jesus and God’s plan to our lives? First, Joseph listened to God and obeyed immediately and fully. He even took an alternative route, in the middle of the night…and lived in Egypt for a while (a different place) until the threat was over.
If you really study this story….God revealed to Joseph the danger….that threatened his family! To me, it doesn’t look convenient to pick up and leave in the night. Certainly to go live somewhere that obviously wasn’t the plan for a “while” could not have been convenient. Often times in my own life the plan hasn’t made sense to me and it certainly wasn’t convenient. It has only been after the fact that I could look back and reflect on God’s perfect plan and protection. I am sure that is what happened to Joseph. The lesson here is God knows best; He has a perfect plan and it is one of protection….WE have to seek, trust, listen and obey and keep doing this with ALL OF OUR LIFE, not just portions of it.
I find when I get off track it is because I have sought my own way, somehow trying to make it God’s plan. That approach hasn’t worked so well for me at times. I can look back and see those times as well. We serve an awesome God and He has made a way for us. The death of his Son paid for our sins. God is quick to forgive and put us on the path He has for us… It doesn’t mean we won’t suffer for getting off track (the reaping and sowing principle found in Proverbs 11 and 22).
We have a responsibility to listen, trust and obey, even when it doesn’t make sense…and even when those around us may question…our source has to be the guidance of a HOLY God, who is all-knowing and all-powerful. Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. ” Being a follower of Christ or a servant of Christ may mean giving up what we think is best and taking an alternate route….Consider the true life story of Joseph following God’s direction…it ultimately was life saving.
Where does your help and direction come from…..? God has the helicopter view for everyone’s life….He will freely direct you and place your feet on solid ground. He wants to be the GPS of your life….It requires from us surrender, obedience and trust. I leave you with three scriptures to reflect on today as you seek to listen to and obey God.
Hosea 10:12, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.”
Psalm 143:10, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!”
Proverbs 3:5-7, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”