I spoke with a woman who is very depressed over this COVID world we live in. She is struggling in her loneliness and isolation. I asked her if she liked snow globes. She said yes! I reminded her that the globe needs to be turned upside down and shook before it gets turned back over to become better and more beautiful than before. Our world feels like it’s upside down and shaking but God promises to bring good out of bad!
Yesterday I did a devotion about a lighthouse and how Jesus invites us to use Him as our lighthouse…how He is there for us in the storms that we face. He is there to help us navigate our way safely through physical storms, emotional storms, financial storms, relational storms, and of course spiritual storms….just as He was there for us on this infamous day in 2001. As our lighthouse, He is a centering point on the horizon to keep us on the appointed route without crashing into the rocks and cliffs of life that are all around.
Today, I want to continue that image. Let’s begin with a neat little illustration. This illustration compares discovering God’s will with a sea captain’s docking procedure:
A certain harbor in Italy can be reached only by sailing up a narrow channel between dangerous rocks and shoals. Over the years, many ships have been wrecked, and navigation is hazardous. To guide the ships safely into port, three lights have been mounted on three huge poles in the harbor. When the three lights are perfectly lined up and seen as one, the ship can safely proceed up the narrow channel. If the pilot sees two of the lights, he knows he’s off course and in danger of crashing!
An interesting analogy that can easily be applied to the choices that we make throughout our lifetime.
What are the 3 lights that you want to need to align before you make decisions?
- Maybe money, time, success?
- Maybe friends’ opinions, family response, morals?
- Maybe popularity, career move, comfort?
- Spend a few minutes answering this question for your daily choices….and then do it again for your big-ticket choices. How do you know if you are on course?
God could have created robots, programmed to act a certain way, with no choices and options. In love, He chose to give us a free will, as well as guidance as to how to make choices that will please Him and to become all that He created us to be. God has provided three beacons to guide us. The same rules of my navigation illustration apply—the three lights must be lined up before it is safe for us to proceed. If only one or two align, we may be in crash mode. I would contend that God’s three harbor lights of guidance are:
- The Word of God! God’s Word is His gift to you to help you navigate your journey. His Word is the standard for your walk with the Lord. Your first question should be, “What does His Word say about this choice I am about to make?” Does the Bible speak about this decision…for it or against it? His Word is the foundation for our lives, everything should be built upon it. Psalm 119:105…Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path. I love the way the Message translation puts it… The wicked do their best to throw me off track, but I don’t swerve an inch from your course. I inherited your book on living; it’s mine forever— what a gift! And how happy it makes me! I concentrate on doing exactly what you say— I always have and always will.
- Prayer! It’s always wise to talk to wise people in your life before you make any life-changing choices…but remembering that they are human as well. But God, the creator of the universe, wants you to seek His Wisdom! You can talk it over with Him. And yet, there is a problem for many people. We tend to talk AT God instead of WITH God. I encourage you to cut your talking AT God in half and then sit quietly for an equal amount of time. Listen for Him to whisper words of guidance, encouragement, or perhaps alternate plans. Philippians 4:6…Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
- Circumstances! Each of us is wired differently, set on different paths, put in different circumstances. Our journeys are different, and we have choices and options moment by moment. Some choices like what “will I eat for lunch” have small consequences…while others like careers, marriage, finances, moral choices can have lasting consequences. God has placed you exactly where you are, uniquely created to make an impact for Him. We have all learned valuable lessons from past circumstances that can help us face new ones. Remember that life is not a spectator sport! God has a plan for you…and wants you to respond to His direction. The question is what would Jesus have you do with your life…and how would He have you respond to your circumstances. As Martin Luther would say, I pray that you are guided by the Holy Spirit in the school of experiences!
God’s Word, the morals, ethics, and priorities that He has given to you should guide you to a safe harbor. 1 Corinthians 10:31…Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Did you notice that it said, “whatever” you do?
So…what is the “whatever” that God has in mind for you?
Take time to assess how these 3 guiding tools can help you to navigate the waters you are traveling today. Are there any storms on the horizon? Are you on the course that God has charted for you? Aligning the 3 lights will assure you that the directions you choose are from God and will lead you safely to accomplish His plans.
For example, what is God saying to you about reading daily devotions? What does He say to you about reading scripture daily? What are you hearing from God about His Word in your prayer life? You are reading this, so it sounds like you are trying to be in alignment with God’s plan to grow closer to Him daily.
How about other areas of your life? Are you in alignment with God’s 3 guiding lights? What is He guiding you to do?
How about weekly worship? On-site Sunday at 8:30 am, 10:00 am, and outdoors at 6:00 pm (weather permitting) or live stream and online worship at royred.org/onlineservices
How about participating in Servant Saturday in October?
How about signing up for a small group or bible study at royred.org. (virtual or in-person options available)
How about reaching out to others during this coronavirus situation?
How about healing some relationship issues that have been broken for far too long?
How about using this stay at home time to re-assess all areas of your life.
Try using the 3 Lights mentioned above in all of your life choices.