There once was an old lady who stood on a crossroad with her grandson. She kept tossing up her umbrella and picking it up once it falls to the ground. Puzzled, her grandson asked her “Grandma, why do you keep tossing up the umbrella only to pick it up once it’s on the ground and then do it all over again?” The old lady responded “It’s because I can’t decide which road to take in this cross road that is why I toss up the umbrella so when it falls, it will point me to which path to take.” “Why do you have to keep repeating it then grandma? Shouldn’t once be enough?” the boy remarked. “That’s because it kept falling on this side when I really want to take that side.” said the old lady.
Does this sound familiar? How many times have we asked advice from friends again and again only to do our own thing or prayed to the Lord for guidance continually yet persists stubbornly in our unwillingness to submit to His guidance. More often than not we already have a plan worked out and what we are truly seeking is not our friends’ advice or God’s guidance but their stamp of approval. And then when things go awry, we blame everyone else except ourselves.
The people in the church of Antioch were different. They didn’t fast and pray only when they wanted something from the Lord. They want their lives and their actions to be continually guided by God that is why prayer and fasting were part of their regular activities. But unlike many of us, they were sensitive and submissive to the Lord’s leading. The Holy Spirit directed them to set apart Saul (Paul) and Barnabas for a special ministry. When they felt the Lord’s leading, they fasted and prayed even more not because they do not want to submit but rather they wanted to confirm it . Once they received the confirmation, they submitted to the Lord’s leading and laid hands on Paul and Barnabas before sending them on their way. (Acts 13:3)
Paul & Barnabas were valuable leaders of the Antioch church. They were instrumental to the establishment and growth of the church there so to send them off was not an easy decision. They could have argued with God that they needed Paul and Barnabas more or Paul and Barnabas could have refused to go because they were already established in Antioch and they have to leave all their comforts to travel on an unknown and potentially perilous journey. But they submitted and as recorded on Acts 13:4 they went on their way.
Do we approach God and seek His will/leading before making any plans? What if God’s leading is different from what we want to do? How do we respond? Do we persist in following our way or do we disregard our own plans and submit to God’s leading no matter how much we may disagree or dislike what God wants us to do?
Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”.
Trust God to lead us, trust Him in all things because He promised us in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosperyou and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “