Potholes in the Road: God or the Devil…or just You?

In the microcosm of my world, blogging and its vicissitudes of late might be an education in illustrating the quandaries we all have at times in our lives. When we run into a string of barricades, oppositions, or downright rebuke… what exactly is the message we are looking at? Should we stop and turn around in the path? should we soldier on? Is it time to reassess the whole business and motivations which we once were confident had God’s imprimatur upon it?

We are asking whether the one we are wrestling with is God… and is this because we are like Jacob or like Balaam? Are we disregarding God’s commands and going forward to our peril? Are we wrestling God for the submission of ourselves and the triumph of our faith? Or are we facing opposition from the enemy? Does Satan wish to discourage us from our continued obedience to Christ, or the vision and destiny God has called us to? Do we stand and refuse to give recognition to the seeming obstacles, the giants of the land? Do we take our sling and stones and run toward it? Or have we hit a rut in the road that might be….

Just us? Things that had to be brought to light for us to move forward in our walk in Christ?

This is the struggle we face as believers so often. Interpreting the significance of circumstance is easy when our inward compass is sure, when we have spiritual assurance that the plan and the method are God’s. But what if we were sure, and the outcomes are throwing all into doubt, now? When we can’t seem to rise above the constant barrage of difficulty? We are losing ground, finding ourselves more isolated, more alone …not sure whether we missed God altogether, or whether this is just a test of our faith?

Time is the answer to all things, but this is little comfort when you think there is a possibility that you, as the Lord’s disciple, have strayed from his path, somehow lost the way, lost the sound of His voice, lost yourself.

In many ways that was the situation the disciples found themselves in between the cross and the opened tomb. The Road to Emmaus was one of questions and self searching, or going over the facts again and again… and trying to make sense of it all. We are slow to believe. So many of us are slow to believe, and I think this is my own worst weakness. Given the trustworthiness of God, His faithfulness time and time again, shouldn’t I jump to believe? Isn’t that logical? To place more faith in actual historical circumstance than in perceived risk and worries? Yet, like those on the dusty road, I, too, need the revelatory breaking of bread. I need Jesus to reveal Himself again, and tell me the game plan while renewing my vision. Not every victory looks victorious. Not all the righteous are obviously in the right. There are times when everything your senses and circumstances tell you are that you were wrong and you should give up and throw in the towel. Surrender to the obvious.

But stubbornly, I want to hear from God for myself. I would hate to give up just before the final win.

5 thoughts on “Potholes in the Road: God or the Devil…or just You?”

  1. Making the right decision can seem like a trial, especially when one is not certain just what God is supposedly saying. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way – it is, I would propose, *not* that way in the Bible. One of the most enlightening studies I’ve run across is Greg Koukl’s Decision Making & the Will of God (at Stand to Reason
    https://secure2.convio.net/str/site/Ecommerce/613736723?VIEW_PRODUCT=true&product_id=3723&store_id=1161 ) – $9.99 for an MP3 & PDF download.

    Bottom-line: the “Christian” model of listening for God to direct us is not found in the Bible (not that God is incapable of directing us). Rather, Scripture indicates that we are to make our own decisions based on wisdom, in conjunction with our personal desires *and* a solid understanding of God’s moral code – all within the framework of God’s sovereign hand. I highly recommend getting this series… it will help take away the frustrations that result from trying to determine whether it is God, the devil or yourself.

  2. Rusty, I hope you know how much I respect and love you 🙂 ..but I don’t agree with you in entirety here. The series is probably very helpful and edits out much of the confusion of this process of ‘knowing God’ but I think there are times -Biblically- when you must have “Christian” model of listening for God to direct us”.
    The thing is that sometimes it is listed under other terms, such as “waiting on God” which is a very Biblical concept. There are other things,too, but the main idea I would like to submit to you here is the fact that I highly value following just the route you mention, but when I have come to the end of that, I need revelation. I need something that reaches beyond my blind spots and the limitations of what I have understood.

    It is one of the severest tests of my Christian faith thus far. I have not believed that the “thorn in the flesh” is a common Christian experience… but I am about to categorize my present situation that way. In Job’s case… he genuinely did not fully discern the explanation for his experiences until God spoke . He did continually test his view against ideas of sinfulness on his part, and what he knew of God actions, and his own conscience; but it doesn’t seem that he had any key until God stepped in to speak . There is so much to idea of God sending His Word in an active sense. I don’t pretend to really grasp what that means.

    I am at the place tho where I am more than glad to explore possible avenues of help and understanding- I’m going to look into your suggested reading.

  3. Ilona,

    I think I understand where you’re coming from… it’s actually a pretty common understanding in American Christianity (at least, the kind I grew up with).

    What I would ask you to do, though, is to outline (as you, for the most part, already have) just how you expect God to interact with you with regards to decision making. Then, go and find Biblical support for it. Keep in mind that the scriptural support must fit with the outline you’ve prescribed.

    For example, you mention “listening for God to direct us” (I’m assuming that you’re listening for God to direct you in making a choice of some sort). What scripture supports such a view? Not that God can speak to us, but that, as a model of behavior, we need to listen to him in order to get direction? The argument Greg Koukl (and others) makes is that you won’t find any Biblical support for the notion that, as a model of behavior, we have to develop the ability to listen for God to direct us. Yes, God spoke to Job; are we to take that account as prescriptive or descriptive? Did Job have to develop the ability to listen? Did God have any obligation to speak to Job? What about Saul on the road to Damascus? Here was someone who was directly opposed to the work of Christ, yet Jesus spoke to him whether or not he was listening.

    The point, in a nutshell, is that the idea that, before we can make a decision, we have to discover the plan God has laid out for us, isn’t found in the Bible. There is no indication, from the Bible, that we must determine whether or not an available option is of God, the devil, or ourselves.

    Again, I would suggest you carefully search for the prooftext which you consider supportive of the “listening for God” model. It may be very enlightening for you.

    P.S. yes, I know how much you respect and love me (and the feeling is mutual, believe me) – that’s one of the reasons I feel comfortable “debating” this with you.

  4. You realize of course that my answer will take some time to do justice to the topic, but it was an idea I had for a post anyway. It is right to delve into discussions this way- i believe it is the Berean example that follows a serious look into the scriptures “to see if these things are so”.

    I love those who challenge my thinking to become clearer, and my understanding more aligned with the Lord’s. You are such a friend, as are some other bloggers.

    I wish we could more often offer each other the challenge of disagreement coupled with a refusal to reject someone simply on the basis of that disagreement. when the love of God is active in us we have such freedom.

  5. Certainly the topic warrants a thoughtful and lengthy analysis. You might also want to check the STR radio show for February 25th, found here, where Greg discusses (for about 20 minutes) the topic.

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