The root word from which we get our English word “decide” comes from the latin cis. It originally meant to cut or kill. Isn’t it still true? When I have to make a decision, I realize one has to die. I have to reject one and embrace the other. For that reason, decisions are hard for me. I prefer to be presented with two choices, not ten from which to choose one. More than once I had to make a decision that would impact my future and my family. The bigger the decision, the more tentative I become. In Isaiah 42:16, God gives the promise of His guidance. I choose to trust God’s guidance over my own in the decision making process.
I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, in paths they do not know I will guide them, I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone. Isaiah 42: 16
This is one of the most remarkable promises in the Bible. It is precious to those of us who know it and have needed it at various points in our lives. Consider with me the precious riches of this promise.
First, the basis of this promise rests entirely on God Himself.
Five times God affirms His determination to fulfill this promise. I will lead the blind. I will guide them. I will make darkness into light. I will do it. I will not leave them undone. There are some promises in the Bible that are conditioned upon our obedience. This promise rests entirely on the grace of God. He shoulders the complete responsibility of bringing it to pass. That gives me confidence that God will help me when I don’t know which way to choose. He will show me which way needs to be dead to me and the way that He wants me to take, even if that way seems difficult and fraught with danger.
Second, this is a promise made to the helpless.
How helpless were those to whom the promise was made? He calls them the blind. We might call this spiritual blindness, but it is also physical blindness. It is the blindness we face when confronted by one of the passages of life or by some major life decision. I find it is not failure to say, “I don’t know which way to turn.” It is an acknowledgement of the truth that we all face because of who we are and the limits of human knowledge. I am blind to the future, whether it is the near or distant future. I don’t know what is around the corner of my life. Walking by faith is essentially walking blind, admitting our absolute and utter dependence on God.
Third, this is the promise of God’s leadership.
The question in my mind, more often than not, is: “How will I get from where I am to where God wants me to be.” The more I ask that question, the more I begin to look down the familiar roads of God’s leadership. I begin to think, “Well this is how God worked before. Perhaps this is the way God will work again.” I look for God’s activity in ways that I have known it in the past—ways with which I am comfortable—because of prior experience.
Here, God promises to lead but by a way that is new to us. Not only is it new to us, it is completely unknown to us. More often than not, God’s leadership comes to us in ways we don’t expect. It takes us by surprise.
How will you get from where you are, to where God wants you to be? You have God’s promise that He will lead you. When you have God’s promise, that is all you need. You don’t need a road map. All you need is Him! In the study Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby said, “If you follow Jesus one day at a time, you will always be right in the center of His will. For me, that was one of the greatest discoveries of my life. However, I still must trust Jesus and His wisdom over my own.
Fourth, it includes the promise of God’s presence.
A leader may only point the way. A guide is someone who walks with you in the way. A leader points you in the right direction and leaves you to go there on your own. A guide ensures you make it there safely by placing on Himself the responsibility for your journey. How will you make it from where you are to where God wants you to be? Wait on God and His leadership. Don’t worry or fret when you don’t know the way. God is your guide and He will not leave you until He has done what He promised you.
Fifth, God accepts full responsibility for the risks involved in following Him.
There will be dark places, and there will be rugged places. During those times, it isn’t up to you to provide light in the dark or to make the rugged smooth. Your responsibility is simply to keep walking when the way is dark, and to keep trusting when the way is rough. As you face these difficulties with your trust in Him, God will make a way where there seems to be no way. Remember, Jesus promised, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
If you are standing on the verge of some life-changing decision, it is my prayer that the God who made this promise will reveal His plan in the midst of your circumstances. I pray that you might know His presence with you, even as you read these words. Trust Him! I have followed His leadership for over forty years. Many times I have failed Him, but He has never failed me!
Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi