Tuesday, July 30, 2013

God's Guidance

I was reading Elisabeth Elliot's book God's Guidance, A Slow & Certain Light today.  I can certainly testify in my own experiences that she is correct.  God guides us but He wants us to ask Him to guide us, to give our full attention to Him, so that we can see and experience His promises.  I have to remind you that this is a slow process because it is in God's timing and He knows all the specifics of our situation in our life at the moment we are in it.  But the good news is if we have faith in Him and follow Him, His promises to us are "certain," just like Elisabeth Elliot says in her book.  She is so wise because she herself is guided by God.

I have read her books since I was in High School.  My first book I read of hers was Let Me Be A Woman and it got me through High School!  I could not have done it without her and my mother, with their words of wisdom to guide me, as God has guided them.  God put both of these older, wise with experience, women in my life to guide me through His wisdom, for they are the women that God describes in Titus 2.  They are...

"to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor 
enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good 
so that they may encourage the young women 
to love their husbands, to love their childrento be sensible, pure
workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands,  
so that the word of God will not be dishonored."
I want to share some of Elisabeth Elliot's wisdom and life experiences she shares in her books.  I hope to hear that you already have read some of her books.  But if you have never read her books, check out my post below, and if you, are like me, and can't put her books down, get yourself a copy of her book today!  

God's Guidance, A Slow & Certain Light - Part 1
Sometimes we come to God as adventurers and we think, we are well-informed and well-equipped.  But it has occurred to us that with all our accumulation of stuff, something is missing. There is just one thing we will have to ask God for, and we hope he will not find it necessary to sort through the other things.  There's nothing there that we're willing to do without.  We know what we need --yes or no answer, please, to a simple question.  Or perhaps a road sign.  Something quick and easy to point the way.

What we really ought to have is the Guide himself.  Maps, road signs, a few useful phrases are good things, but infinitely better is someone who has been there before and knows the way.

Is there someone?

The Lord is my Shepherd ( Psalm 23:1).  He can see to everything if we are willing to turn it all over (even the equipment, even the route), but we will not do this unless we believe He means what He says.  Can His word be trusted?  He has made countless promises.  Is He going to fulfill them?

To say yes to these questions is to have faith.  It is to start following.  The sheep, trusting the shepherd, trots after him down the trail.

But the picture of the Eastern shepherd with his robes and staff, the flock of sheep, the stony path through the ravine, the dark valley, and the grassy place with the quiet pool are so remote from our lives as to seem no more than a romantic painting from another country and another age.  We live in towns and cities and suburbs.  Our days are full of perplexities far removed from the things that bother rams and ewes and lambs.  We muddle along through the thousand decisions of an ordinary day.  When we are aware of the need for help in one of them, it is not one relating to good pasturage or a water supply.  Time and money fill our minds:  how to get them, how to use them, how to save them.  Where shall I set the thermostat today?  The price of fuel has gone up so frighteningly.  And for breakfast -- have I time to make pancakes?  Can we afford bacon?  Should children take their lunches to school (it takes time to make a lunch) or should they buy them (it costs two dollars)?  Shall I take the freeway to work today and pay a bridge toll, or shall I save the money and spend the time to go the long way?  Silly things, trivialities, but we cannot escape them.

Then there are the serious things.  A student has to decide where to go to college, what to major in, whom to marry, what job to prepare for, where to find that job.  After college he must decide where to live, how to pay for the house, the car, the furniture, the things that seem so much  more indispensable than green pastures.

But the God of the pastures is, let us not forget, the God of everywhere else.  He knows just as much about suburbia or the inner city.  He is not at a loss to know what to do with us, no matter where we are or what we are anxious about.  Every last thing that enters our heads is known to him.

“I will lead the blind by a way they do not know,
In paths they do not know I will guide them.
I will make darkness into light before them
And rugged places into plains.
These are the things I will do,
And I will not leave them undone.”
Isaiah 42:16

But the "guidance of God" --is it reasonable to expect such a thing in this day and age?  Has he ever made any promises that I can get hold of?  Is there anything that applies to my needs this Tuesday?  Are the promises (to use a badly overworked word) relevant?  Might not the advice of a trained guidance expert be more likely to help me?

When the question of relevancy is raised, the next question ought to be:  relevant to what?  As C.S. Lewis said, "All that is not eternal is eternally out of date. (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (NY; Harcourt, Brace, 1960, p.188)."   The Bible is relevant --more relevant, I am convinced, more accurate, more trustworthy, more totally applicable to my "case" as a human being than anything a man, no matter how well-trained, can tell me.  It is the place to begin.  It is the foundation, the only sure one.  What I learn from other sources may help me a great deal, as stones to be laid on the foundation, and it would be foolish of me to brush aside other kinds of help that might be available to me.  They are good gifts, and gifts of whatever kind come to us, we are told, from the Father of lights (James 1:17).  But we can start with the Bible.  

This is God's promise to us!

God's Guidance, A Slow & Certain Light by Elisabeth Elliot, 1973, 1992 

I highly recommend all of you to read this book.  To read this subject in its entirety, please purchase her book  ( http://www.elisabethelliot.org/ ).