“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.”
Minnie Louise Haskins
Led By The Spirit
This beautiful quote popped into my iPhone pictures on 1/1/19. It is confirmation of a work of the Spirit in my life that has been going on for over 15 years. I’m a strategist and project manager that loves business process engineering. As you can imagine, it does not come easy for me to let go of my plans and trust Jesus daily to guide my steps.
For a while there, in the early years, one plus one equaled two. I tithed 10%, God blessed me financially. I went to church and served and experienced God’s favor on all that I touched and life was simple and blessed. The scriptural principals I had learned as a new believer were working. At some point in my journey, I found myself in places where the math wasn’t adding up and the foundations of my Christian life began shifting. Apparently, God didn’t like it when I reduced my life in Him to a formula so He decided to shake things up a bit. Until this time, God seemed like a proud parent when I showed Him my 5-year or 1-year plan, but all of a sudden, it felt like He was moving the goalposts and I could almost sense God getting a good laugh when I showed Him my long-range plans. If I listened closely, I could almost hear this playful whisper from heaven when I showed God my newest plan: “Let Me know how that works out for you!”
“Man plans his ways, but the Lord directs His steps.”
“So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.”
Matthew 6:33-34 The Passion Translation (TPT)
These verses and numerous others are meant to pry us away from our tendency to trust in our own plans and get us onto the narrow path of walking in daily concert with the Holy Spirit. When we seek God’s Kingdom first, everything we need is added to us and we don’t have to worry about tomorrow.
While we are crying out for a road map, God is offering us his hand and saying “Follow Me and keep step with Me.” At some point in our relationship with God, the ground will begin to shift and the solid ground we long for will only be re-discovered as we let go of our own plans and embrace the daily leadership of the Holy Spirit.
This was brought home as I was reading Romans 8:14. I felt the Father ask me what this verse means to me. The verse simply says: “If you are one of God’s sons, you will be led by the Spirit.” I responded to the Lord with my theological understanding of the verse like this: “Lord, many of us believe we learn the principles of your word and they guide our lives. We are principle-based believers and we equate that with being led by your Spirit. Others believe in the same biblical principles, but we also believe You still speak today and that Your sheep know Your voice. We are voice-directed believers. I was impressed with my own wisdom until I heard the Lord say: “Reed, how is a blind man led?” I replied: “Well Lord, a blind man puts his hand in the hand of someone he implicitly trusts and keeps step.” Then I heard these loving words from the Father: “Reed, the greatest things you accomplish in your life will be like the blind man.”
This is one of many of the dealings of God in my life over the last 15-20 years which have been painting me into the corner of living on the daily bread of the Kingdom. For the most part, I have surrendered control and become content holding His hand and stepping into the unknown each day. As the poem says, it’s better than light and safer than a known way. I’m no longer paralyzed when I can’t see around the next corner. This doesn’t mean I’m blindly following my programming like an obedient robot, nor does it mean I am irresponsible. The phrase that describes how this new Kingdom-operating system works is:
“Daily Illuminated Responsiveness.”
God doesn’t tell me everything all the time, but my heart is settled in Him and in tune with the unforced rhythms of heaven. Living in daily divine appointments and supernatural encounters is more rewarding than knowing the future. Getting out of the driver’s seat of my own life is so much better than my previous method of operation. My ear is to the door listening for the faintest knock. I have already said “Yes!” to God so He doesn’t have to yell to get my attention. I move at the slightest whisper. It feels like I’m in partnership with the Lord and it’s proving to be the adventurous life that I have always longed for.
The effect this is having on my closest friendships is profound. Along this journey, I ceased evaluating friendships based on what’s in it for me or even for them. The Lord has been re-training me to live fully invested in those He brings into my life. I don’t have to guard my heart or be strategic. I’m simply free to be present and to love deeply. The truth is that we really don’t know if the person we meet today will be our best friend a year from now so if we hold our hearts back and posture and strategize and guard our hearts until we know for sure who they are, we will miss out on so many great friendships.
Learning to live in daily illuminated responsiveness is like breathing the free air of God’s Kingdom. It is where we discover the deepest of friendships in this life. I invite you to take this journey with me into the unknown. As the poem says, holding God’s hand is better than light and safer than a known way.
Thank you for taking a few minutes to share this journey with me.