There will come a time in our spiritual journey when the Lord will disrupt our plans. When He is trying to guide us in a new way. His preference is that we would sense His leading, fully cooperate and move in the new direction.
However, as is all too often the case, He must intervene in the affairs of our lives due to the fact that we are comfortable and entrenched in our present course of action.
To get our attention and place us on the pathway God desires, there are strategies that He employs that are very effective. As much as we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Cor. 2:11), we must be even more knowledgeable of the ways of the Lord (Ps. 25:4). Knowing God’s ways will result in us experiencing His mighty acts (Ps. 103:7).
Here are four ways God works to move us in a new direction:
The Only Way Out Is Prayer
There are some breakthroughs reserved for us that can only be accessed through prayer. We must seek God until we receive a clear answer from heaven. In the New Testament Christians received clear direction from the Spirit and were able to regain momentum and experience breakthrough.
The Apostle Paul had received an apostolic commission to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. In keeping with his mandate, he targeted key cities in the Roman Empire to visit. Yet, the New Testament narrative informs us that on at least one occasion he was not able to fulfill his objective because God saw fit to stop him.
“They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia and were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they came near Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not allow them” (Acts 16:6-7).
Like Paul the apostle, while attempting to do the will of the Lord, perhaps you were heading down a certain roadway and you ended up “hitting a wall” and were stopped in your tracks. From that point on, no matter how hard you worked, you were incapable of making significant progress. Initiatives and projects that were originally inspired by a lofty vision and deep passion ended up languishing, some of them even terminating.
When God leads us out of a place of familiarity and the way forward is blocked, what is the solution?
A Sudden Change in Finances
I remember when I had this great big idea to move to Atlanta. I set a plan in motion to save and be moved within 6 months. I prayed about it and asked the Lord to show me whether or not I was making the right decision. He did indeed. My finances came to almost a complete halt. I was barely able to make the monthly rent, let alone save to move to a new state.
Have you experienced something similar? Your streams of resource have dried up. You struggle to make ends meet and you do not know how you are going to keep going. During such a time, trust that the Lord will soon speak to you like He did to Elijah. “Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you'” (1 Kin. 17:8-9).
More than a cute cliche, you will see that the place where He leads you will be the place where He feeds you. Where the Lord guides, He provides!
There is no provision ever
Provision in this sense refers to anything you could possibly need to successfully continue on your path. This is not to say that everything is just handed to you when you are on your right path. But when you are on your right path, even if it comes down to the wire, a way is always made – provision always shows up even at the last possible second. When provision repeatedly isn’t there, this is an indicator that you should reevaluate and do something different.
Listen to your gut and pay attention to the signs around you. Paying attention early and often, can alert you to when you are on the wrong path in life.
Doors keep closing right in your face
Have you ever started in a direction you thought you should go, but it seems like you can’t get a break? Things repeatedly fail. This is not the same as a little adversity or a few nos. If you are not on your right path, then doors closing acts as a blessing and a warning sign that you are headed in the wrong direction.
Maybe the path you thought was right really is not the right one or the right timing. All those doors closing forces you to redirect to the right one if you are willing to be rerouted. Closed doors are simply a more gentle way of being rerouted versus allowing you to continue down a path that could possibly cause more harm than good.
Trust in God’s Guidance. You may not understand what is currently happening in your life. Does it seem to you that God has messed up your plans? Have resources dried up?
Sometimes God’s ways do not make sense to us. Scripture even attests to this reality. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:9).
This is because the LORD possesses infinite knowledge and perfect wisdom. He is eternal, Almighty and omniscient. He sees the end from the beginning and is completely aware of the final outcome of all things.
No matter how it may appear on the surface, He is actively involved in the affairs of our lives. On occasion, He may even interrupt our plans resulting in us experiencing a sense of anxiety due to a perceived loss of control.
However, as uncomfortable as we may become, we must trust that He is leading us along the best pathway for our lives.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye on you” (Psalm 32:8).