The world around us is becoming increasingly challenging.
- Challenging to live out our Christian faith in a morally relativistic culture.
- Challenging to share the joy of our faith in a world that is not only uninterested, but hostile to a biblical world view.
- And challenging as we face the uncertainty of a future that seems perilously out of control.
What do you do when you feel challenged?
Where do you go for answers?
How do you decide on the right course of action?
If I’m being smart, I go to the Bible for direction and answers. Sometimes I like what I read. Other times I’m stretched by what I read, knowing the answer does not line up with my natural inclinations.
For example, one of my favorite—and least favorite—verses is the same verse.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105 ESV).
This one verse answers several questions, including the source for answers and the kind of help God provides for guidance.
At face value, this verse sounds like everything we would want, including light and leading. Of course, I’m grateful for the direction this verse promises God’s children.
But (true confession) there’s one particular thing I don’t like about this verse. If I’m being honest, I don’t want a lamp to my feet. A lamp only lights the way a few feet in front of me. It lights the path step by step.
I don’t want a lamp for the next few steps. I want a floodlight that lights the way for a mile down the road. I don’t want direction just for today. I want to know what the next year (or two or three) holds.
But God gives me what I need, not necessarily what I want.
What I need is to learn dependence on God. Sadly, it’s easier for me to trust Him for my eternal salvation in Christ—my eternal destiny—than it is to trust Him in the physical trials of life.
According to Psalm 119:105, God gives just enough direction to move forward with dependence on Him. And coincidentally, that’s what prompts trust, which just happens to be my “one word” for the year.
Conversations with friends have shown me I’m not alone in wanting to know what lies around the bend next month…next year…next decade. And actually, isn’t that the reason people flock to fortune tellers, read horoscopes, and visit palm readers?
We’re under the illusion that if we know what’s coming, somehow we can control it. As if a certain level of control will solve all our problems. But the biggest problem is that control is, itself, an illusion. We can’t control the weather, the culture, or how other people respond to us.
And to make matters worse, most of us aren’t even successful controlling ourselves!
Ever lost your temper? Said something you wish you could take back? Or maybe not said something you wish you had?
Control may be what we want, but dependence is what we need. Dependence on the One who created us and sustains us if we run to Him. Trusting that if God has given us all we need in Christ for our eternal relationship to be restored, surely He can be trusted for the here and now.
The Father has restored us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, and the Son has left us His Spirit, equipping us to grow in our intimacy with Him and to live a life pleasing to Him.
In short, He has already given us everything we need. So why does that not seem to be enough?
Perhaps it’s because, deep down, we’re afraid to trust. Afraid God doesn’t define good the way we do. Let’s face it, we define good as what we want: people and possessions. But God defines good as the people and processes He uses to make us more like Him.
Part of that process is cultivating trust. And trust is cultivated with just enough light for one step at a time.
Like I said…my favorite—and least favorite—verse!
What is your favorite or least favorite Bible verse? Why?