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12th May: Guidance (1) -- Recognising God's Guidance

The Lord will guide you continually. Isaiah 58:11

God's promise of guidance is certain and repeated. He has recreated us and has a prepared plan for our lives (Eph 2:10). Jesus himself promised that his followers would not walk in darkness but have the light of life (Jn 8:12). Yet recognising God's will remains a practical problem, particularly perhaps for junior doctors who have to make frequent job decisions which could determine their whole future. We can be caught between the Scylla or rushing ahead with our own plans, assuming them right, and the Charybdis of being reduced to jittering indecision, lest we are making a mistake.

The following stem from long experience:

1. God is more anxious than we that we should know his will, trying neither to delude us not to obscure his plans. But his promises are not magic formulae triggered with a magic wand. We are not always ready for the answer for which we ask. God's promises are often conditional on prerequisites in the recipient. 'In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths' (Pr 3:6 AV). 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God...and all these things shall be added' (Mt 6:33); 'If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you' (Jn 15:7).

2. God sometimes withholds guidance, having some better thing for us, 'therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you' (Is 30:18). His delays are for our greater blessing.

3. Guidance comes in different ways to different people and in different ways to the same person. He is a living God of resource and initiative, seldom working in the same way twice. We sometimes pray for guidance and fail to recognise it when it comes.

4. We may not be acutely aware of God's guidance at the time, but with hindsight can see how unerring it has been. A multiplicity of 'coincidences' of circumstance and timing assure our hearts of his good hand upon us. In his good time we see the picture emerging from the jig-saw pieces.

Child of my love, fear not the unknown morrow,
Fear not the new demand life makes on thee.
Thy ignorance shall be no cause for sorrow
Since what thou knowest not is known to me.

Further reading: Ps 121. Jn 10:1-14.

MC

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