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When God Guides - The Certainty of Divine Guidance

By Rev Dr Colin Peckham

At one time or another every child of God will wrestle with the subject of divine guidance. Its importance cannot be exaggerated. To be certain that you are in God's perfect will brings peace and reassurance. Joy and power flow from the glad knowledge that you are where God wants you to be.

As Christians we naturally turn to the Bible to discover God's will, and its pages are full of the evidence of His clear guidance in spite of at times confusing circumstances. Did He not give His people in the wilderness the guiding cloud? His presence was in the cloud; He spoke to them from the cloud; the cloud was their protection; when the cloud moved, they moved; the cloud led them in safety; the cloud led them throughout their journey; the cloud never failed them! Will God give less under the dispensation of grace?

The New Testament assures us that Christ lives in the believer. We don't have a fiery pillar to look at and a heavenly voice to listen to, but we do have His light in us and He speaks to us by His Spirit. It is by His Spirit that He guides us. He has said, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go" (Ps. 32:8). "The Lord will guide you always" (Ts. 58:11). "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).

God guides in spite of our Abject Ignorance. He says, "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them" (Is. 42:16). Even though we may be ignorant and inexperienced of God's truth and ways, His promise is sure - He will guide. Though we may be slow to understand His leading and may not rate our-selves as pillars in the church - He will guide. Though we are so earnest that by our intense desire to do the will of God e actually blur the vision and confuse the issue still further - He will guide. Though we feel puzzled and perplexed, dull and distressed, weary and worn - He will guide.

God guides in spite of Apparent Darkness. "I will turn the darkness into light before them" (Is. 42:16). It would seem at times that no light shines upon our pathway and we are in complete darkness. No doors open and there seems to be no way ahead. We are saddened, confused and depressed. Yet God's promise shines through it all, "I will turn the darkness into light before them!" Oh, trust Him in the darkness. Keep on trusting Him and His light will begin to glimmer. Soon it will come streaming through and will banish the darkness. God will usher in a new day of delight and joy in Himself and in His leading.

God guides in spite of Awkward Obstacles. "I will . make the rough places smooth" (Is. 42:16).

Obstacles sometimes crowd the pathway, obstructing the vision and seeming at times to be quite impenetrable. Physical weakness or sickness would appear to be a barrier to some aspects of God's service. Timothy, however, did not allow his "frequent illnesses" to deter him from God's will for him. That intrepid warrior, C.T. Studd, whose body was described as "a museum of diseases" nevertheless plunged into the heart of Africa to establish a world-wide missionary society. Amy Carmichael, the suffering saint of India, has blessed the world with her writings. Sickness and weakness could well be the instrument in God's hand to guide you into another form of service, yet it must be well tested to find out whether or not it is being used by Satan to divert you from God's highest will.

Personalities differ and whilst one personality might fit into the youth scene another might be used amongst the sick. An awkward or colourless personality may be an obstacle, but when filled with God's love, that personality too will find a place of service in God's harvest-field, and he can rely upon God to open doors where he will be most used.

To some their age is an obstacle. Either they are too young (Jeremiah's complaint) or too old. However, God's guidance knows no age limit, and in spite of this seeming difficulty His guidance is unerring.

The lack of Finance has ever been and will ever be a stumbling-block. It would seem, however, that if we are walking in the perfect plan of God, we need not be concerned about this aspect of things. Hudson Taylor's maxim still holds good: "God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supplies." This difficulty is not insurmountable and thousands of witnesses could be called upon to testify that God is faithful to His promise and graciously provides. His Name is still Jehovah-Jireh "God Himself will provide" (Gen. 22:8).

The Ordering of Circumstances may seem to be a barrier to what we feel God would have us do but those very circumstances may be the things in God's hand to lead us into the path of His choosing. Has a missionary society rejected you? Perhaps God wants you in another society or field; perhaps to enter another aspect of His service. In today's sophisticated society there are so many means whereby one can serve the Lord. He who called you is faithful. He has brought you so far and will not leave you to struggle on on your own. Wherever you are, in whatever circumstances you find yourself to be, God's promises hold true - He will be your guide.

God guides in spite of Active Opposition "Lead me, 0 lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies" (Ps. 5:8).

Satanic Opposition is constant and relentless. From this we will never be free. Satan hates God's light and always seeks to sow confusion and bring darkness, using every means at his disposal. Our deliverance is constant recourse to the Blood of Jesus, to the trysting place with God, to the place of quiet rest in Him. Even though harm or hurt may come, we are kept unruffled and sweet in His abiding Presence. Our strength and contentment is in God.

A more subtle form of opposition comes from Uncrucifled Flesh, Jealousy, envyings, and pride in the lives of fellow believers may well bring discouragement and a deviation from God's plan for you. An attack from without can be withstood in the Name of the Lord, but subtle forms of backbiting, sly insinuations, hurtful attitudes and sometimes open confrontation with Christians when motives and actions are questioned, can cast us into a dungeon of despair and succeed in diverting us from God's perfect will.

But worse still is our own Unsanctified Heart. Unless we are fully yielded, wholly cleansed, and completely controlled by the Lord, we can become our own enemy. Our carnal desires can lower our standards and lead our lives into backwater bays, away from the full stream of God's primary plan for our lives. Yes, we will still be used, still be a blessing, but Oh, God had so much more in store, so much more that we missed!

Another source of opposition is the Strong Ideas of spiritual men or women whom we hold in high regard. They might be wholly wrong in their assessment of things because of their background, teaching, or grasp of the situation. In the strong attitude which they may adopt they could well turn us from what God would reveal of His plan and purpose.

God guides in spite of Attempted Flight. "If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me" (Ps. 139:9-10).

When the burdens become too great, you might want to run away - yes, even from God - and give it all up. But you cannot. You cannot separate yourself from the One who lives in you. Run from circumstances as you will, flee from God as you may, He will lead you. You cannot hide from God. He knows what you are thinking and anticipates your every move. He is not caught by surprise. Cast yourself upon His love and grace and allow Him to lead you. Welcome His presence, His guiding hand, His safe leading, for He is well able to guide. We can trust Him all the way.

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