"What to Do When We're Not Sure What to Do"
She says it softly over a cup of coffee in the quietest corner of our favorite cafe. "I'm not sure what God wants me to do." It's whispered like a secret, a confession, a scandal waiting to happen. Then she looks up at me with a bit of fear in her eyes--like a tightrope walker frozen midair, unsure of whether to move forward or back. I can hear the questions she doesn't speak, "What if I make a wrong move? What if I miss His will for me? What if, worst of all, I fall?"
I nod in understanding. I've felt the same anxiety when trying to make a decision. For a long time, I felt as if God was watching me with a critical eye just waiting for me to mess up. Surely when I did He would be there to punish me and all would be lost because I'd somehow strayed from His path for my life.
But the words in Psalm 32:8 paint a different picture. God says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my loving eye on you." They are comforting words all by themselves but become even more so when we consider their context. This Psalm is one David wrote after confessing his affair with Bathsheba. If life is a tightrope, he had taken an epic tumble.
But even then, even then, God does not say, "You've irrevocably blown it. I'm done with you." Instead it's as if He's taking David by the hand, lifting him up and saying, "Try again." Perhaps David felt paralyzed with fear. Certainly he felt he couldn't trust himself. But God is there to be the One David can trust as a guide who will "instruct you and teach you in the way you should go."
And then there's the most astonishing line of all: "I will counsel you with my loving eye on you." My loving eye. Not my judgmental eye. Not my harsh and condemning eye. Not my "I saw that coming" eye. No, even in the moments when we least deserve it God is watching over us with love. If that's true in those times, how much more is it when we're seeking His will but are simply unsure of what step to take next?
Sometimes we put far more pressure on ourselves to know exactly what God wants us to do than is really needed. If we are trying to be obedient then God sees our hearts and He can gently redirect us along the way. "We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps" (Proverbs 16:9 NLT). Our role is simply to be willing to move forward in faith as best we can with what we know. It's God's responsibility to make sure we get there.
Life isn't a tightrope after all. It's a journey with Someone who loves us. When we finally realize that we can stop worrying about getting every step right, we can instead say with the Psalmist: "I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free" (Psalm 119:32).