As we begin a new year, don’t we wish it was as easy as this, a road closed sign blocking our intended path, to know when God was warning you to stop, turn around and go another way?
We’ve all been there.
You’ve prayed about this situation so many times. Maybe it’s about a career move, a relationship beginning or ending, a crossroads. There are no new words that can be said about it to God that you have not already voiced. You’ve asked Him countless times whether to go this way or that. Or maybe you were going along just fine, and suddenly there is a decision that must be made. Perhaps you know which way you want to go, but you want God to bless that road and He’s not. You have this feeling like your feet are stuck in quicksand because of a conviction deep inside warning you not to proceed. Or are you are torn because there’s part of you that wants it both ways?
There are two questions that we face at times like this: Do I trust Him to know what path is best for me? Am I willing to stop, wait and pray until I feel certain I know which path He would have me to take?
Even the most committed Christians sometimes struggle with one or both of these questions at times. Newer believers or seekers who don’t know God as personal Lord and Savior may have no idea how to deal with these two questions. One thing we all have in common is that we want to make good decisions that increase our peace and joy, and evade guilt or sorrow.
His ways are higher. His thoughts are pure. Look up! He knows what path is ultimately best. If he has put up a road closed sign, it is because there is danger on the other side of it. There are other roads that we can take to reach the destination He has in mind for us without the danger.
Do we instead imagine that there is some pleasure or relief on the other side of that road closed sign? Do we wrongly perceive God as a gatekeeper who is blocking us from enjoying life? Our independent human nature – the same human nature that plucked fruit from the one forbidden tree in all of the garden full of harmless trees – pushes us to go beyond the safeguards He has graciously provided to protect us. The reality is that He only puts up a road closed sign where there is danger ahead. He knows what lays wait on the other side. We must learn to watch for these road blocks and heed them.
Sin could be described as not doing what God has told us to do, but what it boils down to is that sin is anything that is going to hurt us. That’s why he says not to do it! He will withhold no good thing from us, and yet in His endless mercy, He knew we would stubbornly persist beyond the warning signs, so He went another huge step further and gave us His Son as Savior. Because He doesn’t want us to hurt. If we will stop at the “road closed sign” (when we feel that uncertainty in the pit of our stomachs — his Spirit warning) and if we will pray and ask Him which way to go rather than ignoring our conscience to willfully persist down the path we desire, we will live the joy-filled and peaceful life that He wants for us as much as we want it.
This life that we all seek is found as simply, and as difficultly, as giving ourselves over to knowing His Word and choosing His will over our own. Why do we complicate it so much? Next time that we see a road closed sign – when we feel that gut-wrenching conviction to stop, wait and pray – let’s heed that warning and seek the road that God will bless.
Read Psalm 84:11, Malachi 3:10 and wherever else the Lord leads you in His Word.