Perspective. In addition to exhorting the pursuit of wisdom, in addition to providing gems of instruction in skillful living, sprinkled throughout Proverbs are sound bites of perspective. Sound bites concerned less about what I need to do and more about what I need to know. Reminders of the way things really work. And this morning I’m reminded that although I know what I have planned for today, I don’t really know what’s going to happen today. In actuality, it’s a mystery.
A mans steps are from the LORD;
how then can man understand his way?
(Proverbs 20:24 ESV)
I’ve got my plans, but God has His purposes. I have my schedule, but it’s subject to His sovereignty. I know how I want things to work out, He has determined how they will work out.
Flashback five years ago. We drove down to Santa Cruz for a wedding. Instead God knew we were going to get on a rollercoaster. The plans had been months in the making, but the actual steps had been determined in eternity past. How then can man understand his way? When all is said and done, everyday is a mystery.
I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself,
that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
(Jeremiah 20:23 ESV)
It’s kind of a humbling perspective for those who are planners. It can be somewhat unsettling for those who prefer predictability. And, it can be downright frightening for those who need to think they are in control. Yet it is the way of the world.
Thus, while we might plan, we should not presume. While we might take hold of the wheel, we should not forget who’s really driving. Instead, our steps are from the God who declares, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9). How then can man understand his way? When all is said and done, as I head into this day, it’s a mystery.
But this perspective is not intended to unsettle. It’s purpose is not to create paranoia concerning what a day might bring. Instead such perspective, when recognized in the context of the love of God, is intended to remind us of the only thing we really know for sure about this day. Something I read in Isaiah this morning captured it:
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.
(Isaiah 12:2 ESV)
He who saved me will sustain me. Though I know not for sure my steps this day, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2Tim. 1:12 NKJV). While I may not be able to, with full certainty, understand my way, I know without a shadow of a doubt who is my strength and my song. Who has promised never to leave me nor forsake me. Who has promised that His grace is sufficient for whatever this day holds.
Though I may not like realizing I’m not really in control, I will trust and not be afraid, for God is my salvation. And I know that nothing will separate me from Him who gave His Son to redeem me. Whatever the steps are He has ordained for me, “If God is for us, who [or what] can be against us” (Rom. 8:31)?
The way of man. Not in himself. It’s a mystery.
The love of God. Manifest on the cross. Testified to by His Spirit. That’s another mystery.
That I am His and He is mine? That’s a reality! I will trust and not be afraid.
By His grace, for His glory!