When the Lord Doesn’t Lead

7127553757_01aeee14d8_b“I just don’t have a peace about it.”

Sound familiar?

It’s the best way in the world to tell your pastor why you’re not volunteering for Vacation Bible School this summer! (For other ways to get out of VBS see here.)

It’s perfect: spiritual, concise, and totally ensconced behind an impregnable wall of personal experience.

Never mind the fact that it’s absolute balderdash.

You don’t know how the Lord is leading me!

Nope. I don’t. Even if I thought he was leading. Which I don’t.

I do, however, question the need to be led before doing something like pouring juice and serving cookies. Or anything else that most people would rather not do. Things that might disturb the comfort, safety, and predictability of their lives as they are living them right now.

You don’t think God leads people at all!

Yes. Yes, I do. I know he does. Maybe not the same way that some people think he does, but I believe that God leads his people. In lots of ways!

  • He leads them, by his Spirit, away from sin and towards himself (Psalm 23:3; Romans 8:13-14)
  • He leads them by his written Word, the Bible (Proverbs 22:20; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • He leads them by orchestrating the events in their lives (Genesis 24:27; Ruth 2:3)
  • He leads them through the spiritual counsel of others (Proverbs 11:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:20)
  • He leads them by giving them wisdom (Proverbs 9:10-11; James 3:17)

I know God leads because he leads me. Sometimes he leads me away from temptation. Sometimes it’s towards a person I should witness to. Sometimes it’s a sentence I should speak.

But that does not mean that I wait for a “word from the Lord” before I put one foot in front of the other!

You’re not walking by faith!

On the contrary; that’s exactly what I’m doing (or, at least, trying to do):

  • I’m trusting God’s Spirit, saying “no” to my fleshly lusts and “yes” to things that bring glory to God
  • I’m trusting God’s Word, doing what the Bible commands and avoiding what it forbids, and I’m reading it to grow in my relationship with God
  • I’m trusting God’s power and love, submitting my will, praying for his, and thanking him for his providential care in all things
  • I’m trusting God’s people, listening to the counsel and advice of Christians around me, testing their words by Scripture
  • I’m trusting God’s wisdom because after doing all this, I’m choosing the path that seems best

But you don’t have a peace about it!

Maybe not.

But peace most often comes when we are serving God in the way he has already indicated, not when we sit around waiting for him to give us a warm, fuzzy feeling before we do anything at all.

Like volunteering for VBS, instead of waiting to be asked

Or looking for a job so I can pay my bills, instead of waiting for “the right position” to open up

Or showing love to all the people around me, instead of waiting for an angel to point out the exact person I’m supposed to witness to

Or supporting missions, instead of waiting for “a burden” to be placed upon my heart

Or managing my budget wisely, instead of waiting for “the Lord to provide”

Or serving my spouse, instead of waiting for the Lord to help me feel “in love” with them

Or dreaming of ways to advance the Gospel, instead of waiting for a need to arise that demands my particular gifts

Don’t get me wrong. I am not at all against looking for the Lord to lead.

But when it seems like God isn’t leading, it may only be because he already has.

(For the record, we finished VBS last week, and – thank the Lord! – we had plenty of volunteers.)

What do you think? Am I being too rational? How is God leading you these days?

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