I knew that things were getting tough yesterday when I actually wondered how hard it would be to hijack a horse that stood patiently next to the creek waiting for his owner. I knew I couldn’t do it – I mean, literally, I probably couldn’t even get myself on the horse much less do it before the owner realized what I was doing. Yet, oh, how my leg hurt! But instead, I just kept on plodding down the gravel trail.
You see, my husband and I decided to take the day off and go to a nearby state park, do a couple of simple hikes – more like nature walks – see a couple of waterfalls and just enjoy the early summer morning. I should have known better because the muscle in the back of my leg had been sore and hurting off and on for the last couple of days. But I figured that a good walk was probably all that I needed to work it out. Let’s just say that wasn’t what my leg needed at all!
After walking only about two miles, I realized my leg was feeling much worse. As we passed over one of the creeks and saw two horses resting near their owners, I couldn’t help but wish I could climb on one and ride it back to the parking lot. We kept on going, however, but by the time we stopped for a break at one of the beautiful lakes, I knew we were going to have to turn back. Every step seemed to be more and more painful and I’m positive that I made it back to the car through sheer grit and determination – and, more importantly, a prayer in my heart for God to help me make it.
Later, as I rested with my leg propped up on a bag of ice, I thought about how much our lives are like my little escapade that morning. Think about it for a minute.
- We start out life with big plans and dreams.
- We may have some little problems, but we don’t give them a lot of thought. After all, we’re headed toward something great.
- Suddenly, we discover that we need to face things we hadn’t expected or planned. They may not have been on the list when we signed up.
- Likewise, some of those little problems begin to grow bigger. Minor inconveniences, temporary setbacks, seemingly simple issues can eventually add up to major problems. And in the process we realize that our lives bear very little resemblance to the dream we had envisioned.
So then comes decision time. What do we do? Do we take matters into our own hands and try to make things happen the way we want them to? Do we seek immediate relief, a fast fix or temporary solution, and hijack a horse? Or do we pray and keep on plodding?
Believe me, I’ve done all of the above – well, I haven’t actually hijacked a horse, but I have sought immediate relief – and I have taken matters into my own hands and tried to do things my way. But over and over again, I’m learning that the best thing to do when I don’t know what to do is to pray and keep on plodding.
There is no matter, no concern, no problem too small – or too big – to bring before God in prayer. Paul wrote to the Philippians: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). This is the first step to really actively walking with God. It’s learning to trust Him with our needs, our worries, our tears, even our anger. It’s sharing our hearts with Him and welcoming Him to work in us to effect what He planned, which may not necessarily be the same thing that we planned or dreamed. But it is in that safe, sacred cocoon that God’s will begins to unfold in your life and mine. It is God who completes His will in my life as I walk with Him and yield to Him. As Paul also stated:
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
While God is the One who works things out and completes His will in your life and mine, we can hinder or help His work in us. We hinder Him when we fail to walk with Him and try to take matters into our own hands and work things out the way we think they should be handled. We help Him by –
- Spending time with Him regularly, praying, reading His Word, being sensitive to His Spirit
- Approaching Him with a willing heart, ready to do whatever He wants me to do
- Remaining faithful in those things I know to do and continuing to walk in obedience
- Accepting the situations He allows into my life and remembering the many precious promises He has made to me, including that He will never leave or forsake me
Sometimes, all I know to do is to just pray and keep on plodding. I guess when you think about it, that’s all we really need to do. It’s not for us to know what God may be up to in our lives or how He plans to use us in His kingdom’s work. But even Jesus proclaimed: “ I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). So, while we can, I guess we just need to keep on plodding and leave the results up to God!