Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Friday, January 11, 2013

Order My Steps!

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way." Psalm 37:23
When I was in high school, I went to a two-week academic summer camp at Appalachian State University. Not only was it intended to make us smarter, but also to help us build character. So we would often do some pretty fun and creative activities with that goal in mind. One of those activities started off fun but ended up being kind of scary.

What had happened was..our counselors took our whole group (about 30) up on this hill near the school. For those who may not know, this school is already in the mountains, so we just went up higher up into the woods behind our dorm. We sort of set up camp up there and ate and did some other fun stuff. But the fun stuff slowly faded along with the light of day. As it started to get dark, the counselors explained that we were going to wait until it got totally dark, then make our way back down the hill. Immediately all of those "why did I ever come to this stinking camp" thoughts started rushing through my mind. Then to make the matter more nerve-wrecking, they said that only two people in the whole group had flash lights. So we were going to have to walk back down the mountain single-file, holding hands, with one flash light at the front of the line and one at the back. So as we walked, the person in the front with a light had to give the person immediately behind him instructions on how to take the next steps, and then that person to the next one behind him, and so on down the line. Instructions like "step left, go forward, step down, watch the root, etc". I guess the person in the back with the light was supposed to make sure no bears were on our trial or something; I'm not sure. I figured bears were probably like state troopers and pulled the one in the front or the back of the line first, so I got somewhere in the middle.

It was a scary journey to say the least, and it seemed to take forever. With having to rely on the person in front of me and needing to be reliable for the person behind me, it turned out to be quite an exercise in trust. Needless to say the fact that I am here to today to blog about it shows that we survived it...or that I did at least. But thinking back on it now, I can see that God is using it as a story from my past to prepare me for my future.He is using that story as a personal parable God to teach me about my relationship with Him. 

I know I would much rather for God to totally lay out before me the life path He has already prepared. It would be great if I could download it and print it out like directions from Google maps; step by step and turn by turn. But I have found that God does not operate that way. I have prayed prayed for God to reveal what He has mapped out for me after reading scriptures like "For I know the plans I have for you..." Jeremiah 29:11. Yes, HE knows them, but that doesn't mean He's going to share them with me. I think it's because we probably couldn't handle it if we knew. If God even showed us as far as next year, we may either try to run towards it before we're ready or run from it because we're scared.  But even more than that, I think God doesn't show us what's at the end of the path because we would focus on that so much that we would miss what He's trying to teach us along the way. 

See, up at Appalachian State, we could have come back down to the dorm before dark. It would have been cool and we would have talked about how much fun we had up on the hill. But instead, we were all hugging each other and talking about what it took for us to have to make it down, and how we had to work together to figure it all out because it was so dark you couldn't see anything ahead of you. How when we heard a scary noise, we all squeezed each others hand a little tighter and drew in a little closer.  And that's what the Lord wants. It's not just about God getting you from one point to another in your life; He could just snap His fingers and make that happen. Its about what He can do in you and through you along the way. So instead of giving you plans, God will give you steps. It's up to you if you will take them.

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