Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Good Insight from a Hard Path

Very recently I was driving into town to a Ministerial meeting and asking God a lot of questions on the way. Something that had seemed to be so clearly His leading was turning out not very good at all. We had made a decision based on what we felt were clear indications and leading from Him and yet we found ourselves in a position that was very hard for us. I was driving and asking God, a lot, "Why?" and starting to strongly question if I/we had heard His voice (my expression for sensing His leading in multiple ways), and if not, then if we'd actually heard His voice in other decisions we'd also made around the same time. I was really struggling, doubting myself, confused, hurt, and angry—all at the same time.

I felt suddenly, strongly, "Lean not on your own understanding" (most will recognize that as from Proverbs 3). It was a very clear thought. And suddenly I felt assured that the two were separate things—whether we had heard His voice a couple months ago, and what was happening now. I suddenly felt that it had been God's leading two months ago—the signs and path were so clear!—and that what was happening now did nothing to invalidate what happened then. For then it was, "Yes" and for now it was, "Lean not on your own understanding." While I was still hurting, struggling, etc., I can't describe the peace in realizing that I was not wrong two months ago, and that I could trust I'd heard His voice then and in other things. And, for now, while I couldn't (and can't) fathom what it was/is all about, and what He is doing, and why things are happening if He was leading, my call is to trust Him and not lean on my own understanding.

After the meeting I spent some time talking with a pastor who is also a good friend and he said something that really spoke to me in light of what I just shared. He said that he has learned that you have to separate results from hearing God's voice. He said that too often we can, hearing God's voice, then assume the results will match our plans and desires. Different results then we expected or wanted, he reminded me, don't mean that we didn't hear God's voice in the beginning. The words floated back to me, "Lean not on your own understanding . . ."

I realized in this that I had fallen into the trap he'd described, that I'd heard God's voice (sensed His leading) and then assumed I knew where that was supposed to go (based on where I hoped it would go). That isn't the case in this case and so I have a couple of choices—I can be angry at God, doubt I heard from Him and subsequently second guess and doubt all the other things I think I heard from Him . . . or I can realize I heard from Him*, but that His plans are not my plans and His ways are not my ways, and trust He who died on a cross from me out of a love for me that is deeper than any human love . . . trust even when I don't understand.

As I drove and processed that I was, again, reminded of why I feel so strongly about a literal, young earth interpretation of Genesis. It is because all other interpretations are forcing Genesis to match "science" and are already, at the door of the Bible, choosing to lean on our understanding instead of not on our own understanding. If we've already begun there in Genesis, and taught our kids to as well, then what precedent do we have for leaning not on our own understanding when other things in man's mind and our life don't match what we expect or are taught or experience?

*This isn't to say that there aren't times we haven't heard from Him and thought we had (maybe hoped we had and run ahead with our own wants and hope He'll follow blessing them), and that the Holy Spirit might not want to point that out to us, but I don't believe that this was one of those times as it was too clear and too strong and too unusual for not just myself but for Mary Ann as well.


  1. Dear, dear Erick!
    I know EXACTLY what you are talking about! I had clear leading and even "fleece" to tell me God wanted me to move away from my godchildren and GNC ministry in Michigan to live with my dad in his senior years. As you know, the results of my helping him were nothing like what I had expected or hoped for. Worse than the way he treated me is that, as far as everything I heard from Dad's lips, my being with didn't result in his coming to know the Lord, which was my heart's desire. ... I also had clear leading via special verses in the Bible that I was NOT supposed to go be with Dennis during his 3rd round of chemo for Hep C. Although the Lord has given me a measure of peace by now, the fact that Dennis died a lonely death is still far beyond my comprehension.

    In both cases, because the results were so negative, I too questioned whether I had heard and followed God's voice or my own voice or -- worse -- the enemy's voice. Therefore, I so appreciate the confirmation of your words and your pastor friend's words: different results than I expected don't mean I didn't have the leading in the first place. As to the results, I have to, as you said, trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I have to trust in what I know of His character: He is good, righteous, merciful, loving ...

    1. Thanks so much, Amy. You do, indeed, understand. It was a very clarifying and peaceful and freeing moment for me, which a non-Christian might not understand because the results/outcome haven't changed. But to think I might think I hear God's voice and don't, that is more scary than anything! We love and miss you.


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