by Calven Celliers
This has been a crazy week to say the least. And as the events that beset our country unfolded, I stood dumb founded, not to mention deeply saddened and at times angry, at peoples appetite for destruction, corruption, greed and ability to be stirred to mass hysteria.
Many of the citizens in our country have blindly followed others this week, with little thought where all of this will end and the long-term suffering this week’s actions will cause. Before we let others lead us, it’s helpful to know what direction they’re going in and where we’ll eventually land up.
I once heard a story about a woman driving through a terrible snowstorm. She was completely lost and struggling under the hazardous weather conditions. She was understandably relieved when she happened upon a snowplow. She decided to follow the truck and kept as close to the machine as she possibly could while it removed snow from the road in front of her vehicle. After some time, however, the snowplow stopped and the driver got out and walked over to her car, asking her, “Lady, where are you going?” Upon hearing her answer, the truck driver replied, “Well, you’ll never get there following me! I’m plowing a parking lot!”
Far too many people in the world are following people who themselves have no idea where they’re heading. All too often people are only interested in being in the popular crowd, or jumping on the next big craze, and one day they wake up, like the lady in this story, and realize they’ve been going in circles for far too long.
In Proverbs 3, wise King Solomon instructs us to let the Lord lead us into a balanced life and proper decisions, saying “5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3: 5 & 6KJV)
So many of the things that cause us the most difficulty and heartache in life, the source of so much of our anxiety, fear, doubt, and anger with others and with God, is the result of leaning on our own understanding. Our limited understanding can easily lead us astray. Scripture tells us that “25There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 16:25NIV) When we choose to direct our lives according to what seems right to us, we often reap disaster as this week’s events in South Africa have proven. Every person must make a decision whether to live his or her life according to personal preference or according to the unchanging Word of God. It’s one thing to acknowledge God. Many people admit there is a God and even believe that God is good. It’s another thing to submit to God’s authority, obey His commands, and make Him the Lord of one’s life.
To ‘lean not on your own understanding’ is really just another way of saying we need to live by faith.
“Faith is the most misunderstood word in the religious vocabulary. Faith is an attitude of trust in the presence of God, which is simple enough to say; yet to live by faith means to surrender your entire life over to God.” (Paul Tillich)
Sin first entered the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, choosing their own ‘wisdom’ rather than trusting and following God in His infinite, perfect wisdom. All these years later, nothing has really changed. As I reflect on the havoc of this past week, I see now more than ever that only God’s wisdom can fix the messes we’ve made.
“5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5NIV)
Let us pray in the midst of this chaos for godly wisdom to prevail!