Follow Your Yellow Brick Road
By Lori D'Augostine
-- We had been walking aimlessly for about an hour. Up to that point, my closest girlfriend and I were on no time table, allowing our conversation to steer our way through the botanical gardens.
Our only interest was to catch up on each others lives. We often prided ourselves in these directionless adventures, and hardly recognized the beauty around us.
That is ... until we were stopped dead in our tracks by a fork at the end of the road. Our girl-talk ceased and suddenly our meandering plans were interrupted by the world around us. A decision had to be made. Should we go right or left?
I immediately passed the decision making baton over to my trusted friend to confirm whether my choice to go right was best. Not even a second passed, and she was well on her way to the left.
"Wait a second. What just influenced your decision?" I yelled, trailing behind.
Then, it dawned upon me. There was a river along side this path, and she was obviously drawn to the more scenic route. I had a feeling that her path would lead us farther away from our original starting point, yet I ignored my initial instincts and went along my merry way.
While still doubting her choice, I began to ponder what factors influence my decision making process. Am I led by my heart, or do I allow logical consequence to steer my way? What about revelation? Do I tend to just go with the flow, or do I wait for divine road signs? Do I waste time waiting for legions of angels to appear on my bedside and whisper the way, or do I act on impulses or even irrationalities? Am I moved by my emotions or past mistakes? How much stock do I place in the counsel of wise friends or other help-aids? Is the Word of God a lamp onto my feet? And most importantly, where does God's will fit into the equation?
Caught up in this whirlwind frenzy of questions, I hardly noticed the dead end in front of me. Yet, the answer was clear. It had always been clear. My instincts knew. We were clearly on the wrong path.
I think that oftentimes in life, we neglect our initial gut response to a situation and face too many unnecessary dead ends. A lot of us over-analyze and therefore, over-complicate God's will. It's as if God's will becomes this endless search for a needle in a haystack that isn't even there to begin with.
Some of us might even perceive God as a cosmic Easter Bunny who hides his Easter eggs from us and maybe says, "you're getting warmer." Does any of this make the least bit of sense or sound familiar?
I have to laugh sometimes when I watch others belabor over God's will. I can imagine that God is doing the same (laughing, that is).
Here's a question that gets thrown around most singles circles: "Is it God's will for me to marry this person or that person?" Well, are any of those persons remotely interested in you? Is this person a Christian? Are you even compatible with them? Last I checked, God seemed rather practical and true to His Word.
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14, NIV)
I know it can get a lot more complicated than "is your potential mate a Christian," but my point is, always seek His revealed and complete Word first. A lot of time and energy is wasted when Christians turn to anything other than the Bible.
For some of us, if we were to take a hardy look, God's will would bite us in the face. It reminds me of the times I've searched endlessly for my keys, and they'd be right on me in my pants pocket. Okay, I'll admit to it, I'm just as guilty as the rest of you.
I've had the audacity to question God's will too, especially when my circumstances go awry. "Are you sure God? Are you sure that You really want me to complete my education or be friends with this person?" It feels almost like a slap on God's hand. Perhaps it's how my brother feels every time I unwrap his Christmas present, and instead of saying thanks, my reply is, "It's the thought that counts."
Perhaps this is how Christ felt when He assured Peter that it was safe to walk on water. Jesus Himself, omnipotent-God, was giving Peter clear directions to simply, "Come." Just like the rest of us often do, Peter cowered in fear and doubt. It was as if Peter said, "Thanks for the thought God, but really I'm fine making my own decision." Ouch.
There are consequences for this. Peter's non-compliance led him face-to-face with death. He was beginning to drown. And, he needed help.
As verse 31 of Matthew 14 says,
"Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" (NIV)
Peter should never have taken His eyes off of Jesus. Yes, there was a storm brewing, and the wind stirred the waves to upset. Yet Peter should never have doubted God's original word to Him, "Come." My word to all of you Peters' out there ... No matter how big of a storm, or how uncertain the way, focus only on His voice. He is Your direction.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).
Take the straight-way and narrow path that leads to the Wizard. "Follow, FOLLOW, Follow" your "yellow brick road." Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Obey His word, "Come" from the other side of your tumultuous Jordan River. Do not take the path of least resistance. Do not even take the scenic route. And, please do not over-analyze.
"So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left" (Deut. 5:32, NIV).
I should have spoken up and told my friend that it would have been better for us to go right at the fork in the road at the botanical gardens. Yet, if I had not tread down the wrong road, I would never have had a story for you. God has a funny way of working things out.
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