Some time ago, I met a young father who had his little daughter with him on his bicycle. The ride was visibly creating much joy for the child, but she also wanted to contribute something. With all seriousness the little one said: “Daddy, you can pedal, but I want to steer myself.” As she said it, her little hands grabbed for the handlebars. –
At these words, I involuntarily had to think of how often I too want to steer my own life. Right after finishing school, I had my wishes, plans and goals. Not that I wanted to manage my life on my own. I knew that I needed the Father in heaven, that without Him I couldn’t make it to the goal. But my wishes and goals remained. While I recognized God as my companion and guide and loved Him in a childlike fashion, I still questioned whether my way on the journey of life was also His will. I treated God like this child did her father. I pleaded with Him to escort me through life. I asked Him to straighten that and remove this, and protect me from difficulties, allow me to succeed in everything and bring me safely to the goal. He could pedal, so to speak, but I wanted to steer.
Over the years, I came to understand where one ends up when doing it oneself. It was by His love and grace that God guided my lifeboat to His will and not to my desires and simply took the handlebars from my hand before it missed the way. With time I learned to place my wishes into the will of God and could pray: “Your will be done!” But then my heart rejoiced when God’s will agreed with mine, when He did not halt my often shortsighted desires, when my wishes and hopes were not disturbed. Many times, His guidance was so different than I had imagined, and then my joy in the journey of life was over.
My heart became heavy and with innumerable sighs I stood before the enigmatic ways of God. I could not comprehend why the way had to be so difficult for me. But I learned that self-denial, disappointment and sorrows of all types are the best school of life that takes us on the shortest way to our heavenly Father, of Whom we know, that everything that He allows is out of love. And that precisely the darkest and most difficult ways are the most blessed.
Step by step, I came to the point where placing myself into His will and remaining in Him gave my life a new direction and a new goal and I began to understand the words: “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). I surrendered my own plans and sought to understand the ways of God and learned to be thankful, even for sorrows, because I recognized the blessings therein. Despite all sorts of adversity, hardships and pain in my life, a time of great grace followed, in which I matured. God filled my soul with everything that I needed for quiet service in His work.
Always and everywhere God gives opportunities to work in blessing. And in this service, it becomes clear that without Him one can do nothing. So many things will succeed better if we do not forget to ask God’s guidance in all things. It protects against many failures. One often wants to do great things for the Lord and forgets that remaining in Him is much more important.
The hunger in my soul and my thirst for knowledge often made me wish to understand the whole Bible. And I was happy to know a suitable verse at every opportunity. But I have also often had to experience how long the way has been, until I have comprehended even one word in all its depth.
It is my prayer that I never intervene, with inept hands, in a work that God has not intended for me. I cannot do anything without Him, but everything is possible with Him. He, the wise leader and great helper, in His hands I want to confidently and with childlike faith put my path and goal. I can do this joyfully, because He has guided me this far with great patience, love and faithfulness at many a crossroad.