Finding our way
Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
At the outset of a journey, like graduating from high school or starting a new career, this is a difficult principle to grasp. We wonder where the road will take us and if we’ll ever arrive at our destination. Sometimes our plans are very clear and we can see far down the path. But many times we only have the beginnings of a plan, or even no plan at all. And other times, our plans get derailed and we fear the worst. We may even begin to despair that the road we’re on will end in disaster.
Fear of the unknown is our biggest enemy when it comes to finding our way in this life. Doubting ourselves, doubting God. We doubt our abilities. We doubt that God’s plans include us. We fear failure. We fear letting people down, letting God down.
For those of us with a few years of life experience under our belts, hindsight can provide just the confidence we need to move forward with joy and hope. God’s past faithfulness ensures us of His future faithfulness. We just need to remember what He has done.
When I graduated from high school in the 1980s, I had no direction. I was burnt out on school and didn’t have a college or career plan. So I moved from New York to California, got an apartment and a job, and spent my free time at the beach. I tell you, there’s nothing like a dead-end, minimum wage job to get a young man to think about his future. So I returned to school after two years, first as an engineering major, then psychology, then biology/pre-med. After transferring to a four-year university, I switched majors again to literature, but still planning for medical school.
Well, a year of working in level V trauma facilities cured me of my desire to become a physician, but now what? Through godly guidance, I discovered for the first time a path that really got me excited. The kind of plan that got me out of bed in the morning. I was going to combine my interests and strengths in science with what felt like a call on my life and become a college professor. Without getting into the details of the following 10 years, let me just say that the path continued to be winding with surprises around every corner.
Today I have a career in Christian higher education that is more rewarding than I ever could have hoped for. Looking back on the journey that has brought me here, I more clearly understand and believe Proverbs 16:9. We make plans, God changes them. His plans are better than ours, and in the end, we partner with Him to set our course in life, to find our way.
The benefit of hindsight now gives me reason to trust, reason to hope. Trusting God’s plans for the rest of my life, trusting His plans for my children’s lives. Hope for our future.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
We may not know what the future holds, but there is One who does.