The younger brother of Jesus learned an important life lesson from his big bro, “tomorrow isn’t guaranteed,” James 4:13-15. While there is no record of praising their eldest son in the Bible, Mary and Joseph likely told James that Jesus would go places in life as a carpenter and man of God. James was likely one of the 500 people who spoke with Jesus following his resurrection and before his ascension into heaven, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. One snippet from their discussion might have been centered on proceeding in the right direction in life rather than a specific destination.
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. 6 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.
While writing a letter to warn his children about the dangers of life, King Solomon turns his attention toward trusting God. Similar to James’ warning about making plans for the future, Solomon emphasizes the need to place your heart, soul and mind into God’s hands. Though you may think that you should go to a particular place to work in a certain field in a specific city, the Lord knows what’s best for you. Unfortunately, when I moved to Aiken last summer, I was so sure of my future that I forget to lean on the Lord for my future position in South Carolina.
For this [forgiveness] let everyone who is godly pray—pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely when the great waters [of trial] overflow, they shall not reach [the spirit in] him. 7 You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! 8 I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you, Psalm 32:6-8.
If I would have concentrated on going in the right direction spiritually, day by day, I’d be in a better place in my life as 2023 begins. Like the parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-24. I had to learn the hard way, coming to my senses following a grueling day at work. It would be nice to know where you’ll be in a couple of weeks or months, but right now I’m clearly living outside of God’s will for my life. Therefore, it’s time to take the walk of shame back to my heavenly father to confess, “you were right, and I was wrong.” After confession comes clarity, one step at a time as God makes everything beautiful in His time.
by Jay Mankus