Peace Part 5. Seeing Your Pathway.
I've a friend who was in a shocking accident at his workplace last year. Basically, he was in a collision that smashed all his top teeth out, an impact that fractured skull. He now has major memory problems and leaking brain fluid.
After my last video he reached out to me. In his words "I am looking for some compelling reasons to keep going."
I gave him a call and was shocked to find that was just the beginning.
He's story doesn't end with the accident. It was his business, and piling on the pain, his primary financier then pulled the rug from beneath his feet, locked him out of his factory and sold the assets.
To round out 2020, for a bunch of reasons unknown to me, the church he was a part of saw fit, at that time, to kick him out.
Now his story raises some excellent questions. He is not on his own watching his life get sucked down the proverbial toilet.
The question in, when the world turns dark, when there is no light, no love, and God's just nowhere... what then?
Lets talk about that right now. This video might be a bit longer than normal, but if this is what you're facing then it will be worth the time.
I've had to walk out my own very dark seasons. The last, only a few years ago, was so difficult that I, like my friend, felt a very strong pull to do myself in. I don't think I was at risk, but the thought was there daily.
I had to learn how to walk myself out of that horrible season. I can testify that God was their with me all the way, no question. But it the middle of it I absolutely couldn't see him. Seemingly my prayers to 'just parachute me right out' went unheard. I had to learn, with his help, how to walk through it. I had to learn how to walk out of it.
It's that famous verse from Psalm 23.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Turning to God, especially in these times, is the fastest way out. It's not quick, but it is the quickest.
My friend, whose story I shared at the beginning of this video, is not leaning away from God. He is, literally right up sh*t creek. That's an Australian saying that means he's literally neck deep in poo. But despite that resolutely looking for God amidst the mess of things.
His problem is the same as what I've experienced, and perhaps the same as what you are experiencing at the moment.
You can't see the path. You can't see where you're supposed to go. And so if you don't know where you're supposed to go, it's hard to find motivation to keep on keeping on. That was my situation, in every direction I looked it was darkness.
About a year in, here's what I found in the bible.
This is what the Lord says—
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:16 & 18-19
This is what this verse means. God is making a way for you, out of your wilderness. He is! He is doing this, for every single one of you. Your job, and my job, is to see it.
Your first, and arguably most important job, is simply every day to set out to see the new thing God is doing. Your task is to see the 'pathway' that he's is making for you in the midst of your wilderness.
But it's easier said that done. For me, this was a massive challenge.
I had a friend at work who was also going through hell, and we would cynically joke about all the stupidity around us. It was a coping mechanism. It felt like making fun of the stupidity was my only bright spark in the day.
But here's the rub.
Standing in that wilderness I was unable to see the pathway God was creating because I was so fixated on making fun of the rocks, thorns and canyons. My coping mechanism was actually stopping me see the pathway he was forming. It might be the same for you. Or perhaps your coping mechanism is to get righteously mad at all the stupidity and all the stupid people around you. But in doing so you've become fixated on them.
God's instruction is really clear.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I had to change my stance. I had to, every day, be determined to look past the broken things that assailed me. I had to find God in the midst of the mess. I had to perceive what God was doing.
I got to say, that's why I love the bible. Because I most certainly wasn't finding God in social media.
But I also had to change what I was looking at, and what I was talking and joking about. I went to my friend and said I wasn't going to make those jokes anymore. And I really did, when we fell back into old habits I would pull up the conversation and change the direction. I'd ask, so what is God doing right now? Where is he?
That was the turning point for me.
My situation didn't change, not for another year or so. But I changed. I really did. I found that God, far from absent, was right there. And now, on the other side, I can testify that he did make a way. He has made a way through things that I thought would be my end. And he will make a way for you.