“The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’ ”
We’ve all sadly watched some of the deepest needs arise right here in our own country over the past few weeks. Yes, I’m speaking of Katrina and the devastation she left behind. It wasn’t long after I mailed the last newsletter to you that one of the worst natural disasters to visit American soil roared her way through my home state. What is almost as tragic as the devastation to the Gulf Coast is the blame game and political finger-pointing that popped up almost instantly. Rest assured that I don’t bring up the topic to join those conversations. To be honest, it makes me very weary. Nevertheless, I thought I would share a simple spiritual lesson we might learn from the misjudgment of one man nearly 300 years ago.
His engineers warned him about the dangers of mapping a settlement in the pinch of swampland surrounded by three rather massive bodies of water. But French colonist Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville disregarded these warnings about the hazards of flooding and settled anyway. Perhaps the potential for prosperity—the Port of New Orleans did become one of the country’s busiest—made the dollar signs in Bienville’s eyes overshadow the warning signs. Perhaps he thought the water could be manipulated and “held at bay.” Whatever his reasons, they didn’t seem to work.
And isn’t that just how man is? We think our way is best. We believe if we can plan and manipulate just a little, then everything will work out fine, and maybe we’ll even gain a bit of recognition or fame. Wrong. Consider the men in Genesis 11. “They said to each other, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves…” And the result? “The LORD said, ‘Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other’ ” No, I am not suggesting that God came down and wrought havoc on New Orleans or any other affected city. What I am suggesting is that when we disregard the Word of the Lord—or even refuse to listen to it for that matter—then the results can be devastating. (Trust me, I know!) The Lord had told the descendants of Noah to scatter and fill the earth, because He knew what was best. Not unlike Bienville or even us, they refused to listen and demanded their own way.
So what is the solution? Trust God! The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you” (Psalm 33:8). When will we learn to trust that God is only good? He is light and in him there is no darkness. We have no reason to be suspicious of His motives, yet our tendency to try and make life happen on our own terms indicates that we are. He tells us that He knows the thoughts He thinks toward us and His plan for us is good. So in the vernacular of the Genesis account, let us lay down our own plans and agendas and instead pick up His.
Lastly, it is evident that countless others may sometimes suffer greatly because of the poor decision of one man. You may be suffering today, not because of your own poor decisions, but because of someone else’s. Even so, continue to trust God. He promises to bring good out of any situation for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. We do not have to try to control, fix, or manipulate. Just listen for the Shepherd’s voice and trust that He is guiding you along the best pathway for your life. He will not lead you astray.