“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Ps. 16:11 ESV)
A number of years ago, my wife and I went on our first cruise- a Bible Study cruise with Charles Stanley and Adrian Rogers, two of my all-time favorite preachers. After purchasing one of Dr. Stanley’s books, we stood in line for his signature and a photo. Above his signature, he inscribed Psalm 16:11, as cited above.
As my spiritual journey has continued since that day, this verse has reminded me that as a follower of Christ, I need to seek His direction daily. It informs me not only of the pleasures that are mine as I recognize His presence day by day, but also the eternal pleasures that are awaiting me when this earthly life is over. Hearing of the passing of a high-school friend last week was a sobering reminder that at the age of 65, I have many more years behind me than lie ahead of me in this world.
When I look back on my life and reflect on all the ways God has directed my paths in the past, it motivates me all the more to seek divine direction as I move forward. Pondering those times that I have sensed and followed God’s clear direction, at least nine significantly memorable occasions come to mind- the most recent being a call to establish this blog. From time to time, when appropriate, I will share some of the details of those encounters.
One that stands out prominently with me is my call to move to Denver, Colorado at the end of my career. At the time, I was serving in a staff position with the Bureau of Prisons in Washington, DC. Nearing retirement eligibility, and having moved a number of times throughout my career, I intended that Washington would be my last duty station. But as someone once said, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans!”
Out of the blue one day, in a quiet time, just minding my own business, a verse of Scripture invaded my mind along with an image of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains that border the city of Denver. The verse was Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)
At the time, we were considering a change in the management of our Denver operation which was under my supervision, but I had never considered myself as the replacement. And I suppose God started to chuckle just a bit. After discussing the possibility with my wife and receiving several divine confirmations in the days that followed, I made no other moves regarding the filling of the Denver position, leaving it entirely in God’s hands.
A couple of months later in my personal Bible study before catching the carpool for my daily commute into DC, I came to Jeremiah 29:11. As those words seemed to leap off the page, I knew in my heart that the day had come. Within an hour after arriving at the office, though we had never discussed the possibility of moving my position to Denver, my boss called me in and opened the conversation with words I’ll never forget – “What would you think about moving to Denver?”
Denver would be my last duty station, and it could not have been a better place to close out my career. We met folks there who would become lifelong cherished friends. Though it was so far from home and family, Denver was a fantastic place to live- in fact, our favorite of all the duty stations we called home through my 25 years with the Prison System. The work was so rewarding that I stayed almost two years beyond my retirement eligibility date.
The Lord led us to Riverside Baptist Church (which is a testimony I’ll share at another time) and we sat under the preaching of Pastor Rick Ferguson, who continues to rank as my all-time favorite pastor. Adding to God’s plans to prosper us, the real estate market conditions allowed us to build more equity in a home than ever before, providing a much needed down payment toward our retirement home.
Since that experience, I have had several other occasions of clear divine direction, but I’ve learned that it is not something I can force God’s hand about, no matter how urgent and fervent my prayers. It always comes in God’s perfect timing and for his purposes rather than my own anxious inclinations. All I can do is create the environment for divine direction to take place by maintaining a strong intimate relationship with The Lord through the spiritual disciplines of Biblical prayer, personal Bible Study, regular worship, and exercising the spiritual gifts the Lord has granted me.
Through these 65 years, I have made my share of poor decisions. I can certainly relate to the song I’ve linked at the end of this post. But I have never regretted obeying the clear directions of the Holy Spirit. The Lord has led me down many rejuvenating, fulfilling, and purposeful paths. And those paths have taken me to a much deeper faith and a more intimate relationship with Him. In fact, this post was a divine redirection from my plans to begin a series of posts from the Gospel of John. I’ll start that on my next post, unless of course, the Boss has other plans. (Are you laughing, Lord?)
Perhaps you are at a point in your own life where you need divine direction. Perhaps God changed my plans for this post to speak through me to you. If so, I encourage you to listen for his voice. Make those spiritual disciplines I identified above a part of your daily routine. It is time well invested. And when He clearly speaks to your heart, ask for divine confirmation, and obey that still small voice. And He will fill you with the gladness of His presence, and perhaps he just might direct your paths. And if he does, just step out on faith and enjoy the journey!
Until next time,
“Trust in The Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Prov. 3:5-6 KJV)
Enjoy ” Through All Of It” by Colton Dixon.