The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. – Proverbs 16:9
As we mentioned last week, 2016 did not go as planned for many people. While God gives us freedom to make our own plans and pursue our own desires, our freedom does not negate or override His sovereignty.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. – Galatians 5:13
In His sovereignty, God first lovingly moves us through a “still, small voice toward His plans and purposes, which often don’t align with our own. When we obey, He blesses us; if not, He often uses other measures to compel us, including trials, testing, and even storms that threaten to sink our ships and large fish that swallow us whole.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. And let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. – James 1:2-4
The purpose of these trials is to keep our hearts turned toward God in faith, trusting Him to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).
The Christian life is not complicated. Since the creation of the universe, God has sought men and women who will simply listen to His voice and obey. To each of Jesus’ 12 disciples He simply said “Come, follow me, and they heard His voice and obeyed.
Only by listening to His voice can we know what He expects of our time, talents, and resources.
Over the past year, we have seen a few trials, but they have served to strengthen us and to keep our hearts turned toward Him and our ears attentive to His “still small voice. Whether you are in the midst of a trial, on top of the world, or somewhere in between, we pray that the Lord will bless and be with you as you celebrate this Christmas season, and that somewhere in the hectic schedule that often dominates our lives during this time of year, you will find the time to “be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
May His still, small voice lead and comfort you.