Yes, it’s the sort of cold that hurts our souls, and there’s not much more to be said about that. Here are 3 Proverbs, instead.
(Prov 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”)
(Prov 19:21 “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”)
(Prov 20:24 “A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?”)
So, ‘How can anyone understand their own way?’ Really? But I neeeeeed to understand my own way!!!!! As a matter of fact, I usually need to understand everyone’s ways. But there are an awful lot of verses in the Scriptures that point in this direction (the number gets overwhelming if we include those on stress, worry, anxiety, and fear, and of course, as they are all linked so closely, we have to include them), it’s hard to imagine that they were all in error.
Obviously, some passages were mistakes, like “Love your enemy,” or “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.” (Phil 2:3-4) Ha! Sure!
Anyway, there are just so many on our plans and steps, they seem to be there on purpose…
We so so often plan our course, we stay up nights trying to understand the roads we travel. My hands are tired and cramped, white-knuckled from grasping for some kind of control. And that’s really what this is all about, right? Control. Control over my circumstances, over my environment, over others’ response to me, over everything.
In 2011, there was a flood where our house went under water and all the stuff we have floated away, became all the stuff we had. The rain represented so many things, but none hurt more than the fact that I had zero control over the rain, the rising water, or the insurance adjusters and companies – I lived happily under the delusion that I could take care of us, I could protect us, keep us safe and secure. And as I swam out of my basement and ran down the street, water above my waist, that delusion was washed away with everything else. And I miss that way more than I miss anything that was in that house.
I still fight that truth, every now and again. I spent the last several months struggling to understand the road I travel, making many plans for my course, where I belong, what I should be doing, what’s next, what do I do with this, and on and on. You understand.
Eventually, as these struggles so often do, I took a breath and let go of the rope that was tearing my palms and exhausting me. And I have a new limp from that struggle.
I wish He would make His purpose a little clearer, with a longer view. I’d like it if He’d show me the steps He determines. (Maybe I would, or maybe I wouldn’t like that as much as I think I would, but that’s a conversation for another day)
But… I suppose that’s what faith is. If I could see it, I wouldn’t have to trust, I wouldn’t have to let go of the rope that cuts me, the rope that imprisons me. I suppose Abraham’s sacrifice was so powerful because he didn’t know the ram was there. He just had the next thing.
And so do I.