Accepting God’s Guidance.
One of my favourite hymns is “Guide me o thou great Jehovah” (or Redeemer as it is sometimes called).The author of the hymn was a Welsh layman-preacher named William Williams. He was one of Wales’ greatest hymn writers writing over 800 hymns and this is the best known of them all. The hymn is famous in Wales where it is almost a second national anthem and it is sung at national events.
As we live our lives on earth there are many times when we feel in need of help and guidance. For many of us with no family to turn to what can we do? I have always had a strong belief in God and I have turned to Him and He has never failed me. It is sad that so many people try to live their lives without asking God’s help. He created you. He has followed you through your life’s development — its ups and downs — He knows your talents and your failings and He knows the best choices for you to make. Should you make the move, accept the job offer, go on the course ¬— decisions, decisions. God also has the ability to see a little further down the road ahead than we can. Everybody will have difficulties and struggles in life and the words of the hymn reminds us of the forty years in the wilderness of the Children of Israel and of how God guided them all and provided for them until they “landed safe on Canaan’s side.”
I believe we must make a distinction between praying for specific things and asking for God’s guidance to deal with problems and situations. One of the stories in the Bible is about the woman taken in adultery. She was brought to Jesus by the Scribes and Pharisees who hoped to trap Jesus into making a bad decision about her punishment. If He said let her go He would be accused of breaking the Law of Moses which said the punishment for adultery was stoning. If He said to stone her it would have made a mockery of His preaching of forgiveness and the love of God for sinners. The Bible story tells us that Jesus stooped down and began tracing His finger in the sand. I believe that in those moments He was asking for God’s guidance on how to deal with the situation. When He stood up again to address the woman’s accusers He gave one of the most brilliant replies the world has ever heard “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” Not one of the woman’s accusers could claim to be without sin so He saved the woman’s life and He also saved His own reputation. “Go and sin no more” he told the woman whereby He acknowledged the fact of her sin but also of God’s mercy for a sinner.
So, Jesus did not hold back in asking for God’s help when He needed it so why should we? Remember however that you must ask for such help “Ye receive not because ye ask not.” [James 4:2] The Bible has plenty to say about the guidance of God.
“ I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” [Psalm 32:8]
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight”. [Proverbs 3:5-6]
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to you.” [James 1:5]
Today the world is going through very difficult times from a virus pandemic to the threat of a world war. I wonder do our political leaders ever ask God for help when they have to make difficult decisions?
How do we get God’s guidance?
We do this by asking for it. “Ask that ye may receive” [John 16:24]. You can speak to God in any place and at any time. You do not need to be in a church! I strongly disagreed with our religious leaders who wanted to keep churches open during lockdown. God knows all about Covid and how we are trying to deal with it. He would see nothing wrong in closing church doors! Jesus always made people put their problems into words “What do you want me to do?” [Luke 18:41, Mark 10:51] I believe that God already knows our needs but so often we don’t ask Him to help us!
How do we receive this guidance from God?
Talking to God is a bit like being on a telephone and you must listen for His answer! A line from a hymn, a verse from the Bible, a line from a poem or words that leap out at you from a page comes to you to give you the answer. God also uses others who are our friends to give us wise advice. Look back over your life and remember other times that God has helped you with difficult situations. I have found that in moments of absolute stress and despair when I have cried aloud to God for help that I have had direct voice communication perhaps not from God Himself but from one of His spirit helpers in the next world. They have told me how to deal with household tasks and once when I felt so alone in the world the voice came and told me to ring a relative and invite her over for a cup of tea! Talk about getting practical down-to-earth help! I don’t believe there is only God sitting on some throne in the next world listening to requests for help and rubber-stamping them! The next world is filled with those who have lived in our world. They understand our problems and God asks them to use their experiences to help those of us still on the earth.
The God I love and worship is a God of this century and not a God of 2000 years ago! He understand the problems of our modern world. Talk to Him. Make Him your best friend and you will never have to face life’s difficulties on your own. He will always be by your side.
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