Variety - the spice of life
One thing I love about the Lord is the limitless variety He
displays in whatever situations we find ourselves in. For someone like me who
loves stimulation, the beauty of God's creation and the endless formulas He has
concocted continually blow my mind. When we consider the number of different
foliages and barks that He designed and has on display in New Zealand alone,
it's enough to make the mind boggle. What about the incredibly detailed petals
on flowers and the choices of vibrant or softly hued colours that abound? While
studying plant biology, my daughter was constantly exclaiming over the amazing
processes that God has instituted for propagating the plant, growing and
maintaining it, and even by its death, another process occurs that breaks it
down so that the instituted cycles can begin over again.
In the light of God's unbelievable attention to detail (even
in just the plant world alone), comes the statement to us from Jeremiah 10:23 - "O
Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that
walketh to direct his steps."
If it is not our choice to direct our steps, then it must be
God's and this is borne out by Proverbs 20:24 - "Man's goings are of the
Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?"
In my mind, I see these two statements as being a promise
from God, particularly for this uncertain day and age that we are living in.
With the prospect of war and how it will affect the world, it is comforting to
know that God is not expecting any more from us than total submission to His
will. WHAT? TOTAL SUBMISSION? ARE YOU MAD?
Certainly not! Let's go back to the plant world for a minute.
God designed each plant to go through process after process
until it achieves its crowning moment, the flowering/fruiting, and then the
flowers or fruit die off and the cycle starts up once more.
Matthew 6:28-33 speaks of this with a promise from God - "And
why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do
not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was
dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the
field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not
much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What
shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans
run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But
seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given
to you as well."
Some people take it as a personal affront that God says that
we are not able to direct our own steps but many times they've forgotten that we
have limited vision - we were created that way.
A good example of this is..."The two disciples on the
road to Emmaus were possessors of sad hearts and minds stupefied by the
incomprehensible turn of events at Jerusalem. But the dull clouds vanished when
Jesus Himself drew near and opened the Scriptures to them. Then they realised
that the Lord had risen indeed, and that He was clothed in resurrection
power." (J. Edwin Orr, "Can God -?")
The perception of these disciples was limited and they
couldn't see past the tragedy that had unfolded in front of their very eyes to
the magnificent blow that God's plan had dealt to the devil's kingdom!
David's rise from shepherd boy to king included many times of
racking uncertainty, from being pursued by another king, having to fight
numerous battles to keep the borders safe, to inward turmoil in his own house. "...here
again there is no rigid formula for David; it changes as he goes, relying on
the counsel of God. This is the way every comrade and close companion of God
lives..." ('Wild at Heart', John Eldredge).
Allowing God to direct our steps, without interference from
us, gives us a number of blessings. We are relieved of the pressure of making
decisions, particularly bad ones. As long as we are 'planted' in Him, the
processes of growth automatically follow and the 'flower' or 'fruit' arrives at
the right time and in the right season.
As a family, we are now on furlough for three months before
rejoining the ship in the Mediterranean for another couple of years. With the
prospect of war looming on the horizon, plans to visit some of the ports there
are jeopardised to say the least and it may be that some consider it downright
foolhardy to be anywhere near that region. However, if it's God who is directing
our steps, then He knows the direction He's taking us in and the bigger plan
that will be accomplished through it. We can rest in this.
And, finally, the responsibility is God's, all God's! If He
is concerned about glorious variety in His plant world, imagine what He wants to
do in our lives!