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Sometimes the path is clear.
Sometimes it is not.
And sometimes, people attempt to make your path as difficult as possible.
Have you ever had someone attempt to trap you in a situation where regardless of what you say or do, you look like the “bad guy”? This can happen for numerous reasons.
- Sometimes it is religious, as when someone wants to win an argument.
- It can happen in a relationship when someone wants control.
- Some bad natured people (e.g., narcissists) do it for entertainment.
However it happens and for whatever reason, it is difficult to see a way out “in the moment”–especially if you are not expecting it or do not think in devious or manipulative ways. In such times, we must rely on Holy Spirit to reveal His response and solution. (You can be assured that He has one!)
Paul found himself in such a no-win scenario in today’s Scripture passage. He was being set up. He did what his accusers did not expect: He took himself out of their control. This was God’s path for him. Though he could not see the path in front of him at the moment, he was confident that God would be with him. History shows that his faith was well founded.
This brings me to my point for today: Sometimes the path is clear and sometimes it is not. In my experience, most of the time I could not see a clear path. Some of the time I knew I was walking where God had me to walk. Sometimes I had an idea and trusted Him. Candidly, more times than not I had not a clue.
The most important thing you can do in your life is to commit your way to God and trust Him to do what He needs to do to keep you on the path He has for you. This is important because God’s path, plan, and purpose is greater than anything you can conceive on your own (in your own mind or your own intelligence, insight, or wisdom).
Some people are afraid to trust God to this degree. I consider it the safest thing I can do. If His way is better, His plans are greater that mine, and He will be responsible for making them happen, why would I insist on my own? That does not make sense to me!
Therefore, I willingly and confidently pray that “dangerous” prayer of asking Him to do whatever He needs to do to cause me to be whatever He has for me to be. (You hear it often in Today’s Seed.) By those words, I relinquish my control to God with neither condition nor exception.
This is wise, it makes logical sense, and it is in agreement with God. This could also be a summary of Paul’s teaching. Study his life: He lived this way.
When the path is unclear, when someone attempts to trap you, or when you just do not know what to do, trust God’s love and leadership. As Paul experienced, He will get you to where you need to be even when you do not know where or what that may be.
If you trust God, you no longer have to know because He takes that burden. There is such a great freedom in this. You only have to know that God knows and that He will do whatever is necessary to cause your life to be the best it can possibly be–the best from His perspective (which is always better and greater than your own).
When the path is unclear, God’s love and faithfulness is crystal clear, unwavering, and without question. The more you learn to trust, the more clear your vision of it will become.
It is then that you discover that His love WAS the path all along… and that everything that happened in your life was to lead you to that understanding. Then, at last, it all makes sense.
Paul denied the charges. “I am not guilty,” he said. “I have committed no crime against the Jewish laws or the Temple or the Roman government.” Then Festus, wanting to please the Jews, asked him, “Are you willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there?” But Paul replied, “No! This is the official Roman court, so I ought to be tried right here. You know very well I am not guilty. If I have done something worthy of death, I don’t refuse to die. But if I am innocent, neither you nor anyone else has a right to turn me over to these men to kill me. I appeal to Caesar!” Festus conferred with his advisers and then replied, “Very well! You have appealed to Caesar, and to Caesar you shall go!” (Acts 25:8-12 NLT)
Prayer: LORD, when people attempt to trap me in words or conflicting circumstances, help me rely on Your wisdom for my response. Sometimes there appears to be no good solution. Regardless of appearances, You always have one. Show me how to avoid the trap. Reveal the path through the circumstances. Enable me to recognize it and follow it. Do whatever You need to do to make it so. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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“Today’s Seed” from E-MIN Jan. 16, 2023