God’s Leading Is That God’s Leading?
Even when you are a child of God and have come to know him as a faithful Father who lovingly cares for you for Christ’s sake, this does not mean that at times you do not see his fatherly goodness and grace and that you cannot “follow” his leading at all.
God’s children have innumerable questions, also concerning God’s leading in their own lives, or in the lives of their children and grandchildren. They did pray so fervently and seriously, they placed everything in God’s hand, and now…
Sometimes people who believe from the heart and can witness what God means for them travel a rough road. The way of the wicked seems to be a pleasant path, while it seems they as believers are pressed into a corner, enduring the blows.
We taste some of this struggle in Psalm 37.
With various examples from our immediate environment we could show how difficult it is to then discover God’s hand and to believe in God’s leading.
You can hear people sing it, people who have experienced a lot in their lives:
Will the Lord spurn us forever
and withhold from us his favour?
Will his love and mercy fail?
Will his promise not prevail? Psalm 77:3, Book of Praise
In Psalm 94 someone speaks about what he experiences:
And in my great anxiety
your steadfast love supported me.
Whenever I on you would call,
your consolation cheered my soul. Psalm 94:9, Book of Praise
Where Is God?
There are psalms that not only start with struggles, but also end in despair. Just think of Psalm 88. And who does not understand the struggle with God’s leading when you “experience” even a little of what is articulated in Psalm 77:
Will he not forgive transgression
but, forgetting his compassion,
let his burning wrath replace
his unfailing love and grace? Psalm 77:3, Book of Praise
The poet of Psalm 77 cringes when he thinks of God. And the poet of Psalm 44 is asking himself: “Why are you asleep, Lord?” Who has never experienced the beginning of Psalm 10: “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” We can then wholeheartedly pray alongside: stand up Lord!
Job could witness initially: The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. This God-fearing man, as God himself calls him, does not ascribe anything negative to his God, as we can witness of him. But how difficult it becomes for him later on pertaining to God’s leading in his life. So severe that he curses the day of his birth!
And he is not the only one in the Old Testament who utters such a statement.
How much you can struggle with … your God and his leading. In Psalm 42, the poet laments: if I go forward, then I do not see him and if I go backwards, I do not discover him. Where is the God whom I trusted? From the prophet Jeremiah we have a complete book of Lamentations, which comes to us with a very clear message.
In the life of Joseph, it is no less hard to show this big problem. Why did he have to be so hated by his brothers, who are in fact the patriarchs of Israel? Why were they eager to see him dead? How far can envy go, and how much can be broken by jealousy, even still today? How many relationships are not being “ruined” by it?
When Joseph then is also being daubed by a woman who lies about him and he is unable to “defend” himself, and when, on top of that, he is just forgotten in prison, where is God then and what about God’s leading? All the more, as God had promised so much to this son of father Jacob!
We know how things fared with his brothers. In Genesis 45 we see already that Joseph receives everything from God’s hand, but does it have to take that long then before his brothers come to ask him for “forgiveness”? Must father Jacob first almost die before they become afraid and out of fear go to their brother?
Is all this a part of God’s leading?
Joseph can say, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive” (Gen. 50:20). Joseph can comfort his brothers, who have hurt him so much, because he himself sees God’s hand and detects and believes in God’s leading in his life.
In Hebrews 12 we discover God’s fatherly hand, which chastises and disciplines us for our good (Heb. 12:11-15). It shows that God chastises whom he loves. And that he chastises in a fatherly manner, so that we may share in his holiness.
That is why God as a Father sometimes leads things in such a way, as is revealed to us in this part of his Word.
We cannot realize more fully that in every way we are dependent on God’s leading.
That is something totally incomprehensible for an unrepentant “independent” person. For a child of God, it is even still quite a lesson. While at the same time it must be said that that this is a source of comfort for every person who fears God. For in the end it is not people who decide, and it is not powers that decide, and we are not handed over to the devil and to what he does “by chance.” We may believe from the heart that God holds all things in his hand, that he directs these things and leads them to his glorious goal. According to his eternal plan!
He knows what is good for us, and especially what is beneficial. He knows what brings us closer to him.
As this trust lives on in us,
that all is good that he gives us!
Such a song can then be sung, even when God takes away everything that is dear to us.
Believing in God’s leading means a complete surrendering to his leading in our lives.
That looks easy. In fact, it is child-like easy. But it is such a difficult lesson for people, who want to have “input” and rather lead God than to be led by him. They would like to, as grown-up and “wise” people, give God a bit of a hand, to give him advice and “together” take care of things in the best of circumstances. Then those people do not hesitate to give God advice in prayer and come to him with proposals, to also show God the way, which looks so good to us.
To follow the Lord and completely follow his footsteps is a life-lesson. A lesson, which must be learned throughout your life. To live a pious life in complete dependence, in which he is being honoured and in which you may enjoy peace.
With the words of Psalm 37 we may sing repeatedly:
The Lord will grant your heart’s desire as favour
when you make Him your joy and your delight.
Commit your way to Him. The Lord will ever
let vindication dawn for the upright. Psalm 37:2, Book of Praise
This is a psalm in which we see the exercise of following and expectation, of learning to entirely entrust oneself to the Lord. To live in dependence takes much prayer, a lot of faith and prayer. And with that is meant a faithful prayer.
When David prays, “Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Ps. 143:10), then at the same time he surrenders himself completely to the leading of the Holy Spirit. One can then experience that whatever my God has for me, it is well.
In a complete surrender from the heart to God’s leading, a person finds rest in this leading. In the faithful knowledge that the leading of our lives is in good hands.
It is worded very fittingly in Psalm 147:
But He delights in those who fear him,
who for his constant love revere him.
Within your walls in peace he leads you
And with the finest wheat he feeds you. Psalm 147:3, 4, Book of Praise
Faithfully letting yourself being led is to blindly surrender yourself to God himself and therefore to his leading. To also honour him in this.
It is God’s fatherly hand, who directs and guides everything.
“You guide me with your counsel.” Psalm 73:24
This article was translated by Bram Vegter