Wait for the Debris to Settle

This week I've been thinking about guidance and confusion. As I rested in bed the other day with several ice packs on my back to ease the discomfort, I pictured myself standing knee-deep in a refreshing, gently flowing stream on a warm July day. The water was crystal clear, so as I walked in it I could see everything on the bottom. It was easy to avoid stepping on something sharp because I could see where I was stepping.

Then a rabid dog suddenly charged into the stream, barking ferociously and thrashing around in the water. Caught off guard, I panicked and started to run. But then I remembered that I had pepper spray. So I turned around, aimed it at the animal's face, and sprayed. The teary-eyed dog ran off whimpering and I was safe once again.

However, as I resumed walking in the stream I could no longer see where to step because the dog's thrashing had muddied the water. I was confused and didn't know what to do. Should I leave the stream or continue blindly walking? Then I heard a voice say, "Stand still and wait for the silt to settle."

Once the debris had settled, the water was clear again, and I safely walked on.

As we follow the Lord, His Spirit--like the crystal-clear water--makes our next step plain to see.

But then our enemy, the devil, wreaks havoc in our circumstances, doing his best to bring chaos and confusion and churning up our emotions. We may temporarily panic until we realize that God is still with us and has given us His precious promises to help and protect us. When we stand on these and trust the Lord, the enemy scampers away like a wounded dog.

Then as we wait in God's presence, He once again calms our hearts, settles the confusion and makes our next step clear. However, He seldom shows us our next 10 or 20 steps--although we wish He would--but He does reveal the first one we should take.

Perhaps you're facing a perplexing situation today and you need God's guidance. Or maybe you have a friend or family member who needs direction. The Bible says, "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace" (1 Corinthians 14:33).

He has promised us that if we seek Him with all our hearts, He will hear and answer our prayers.

Though His answer may not always be the one that we would like, He will help us overcome or detour around whatever obstacles may block our paths.

Often, as we take the next step that God directs us to take, we feel as though we're jumping off a treacherously high cliff, trusting that He will catch us. Obedience always has an inherent risk. Giving in to the pressure of others or to our own fears will bring internal conflict, a restless uneasiness to our souls. But as we earnestly seek God, we find peace in His presence, and deep down inside, we know when He is the One who is guiding us.

© by Nancy A. Stevens