“Dear Lord, is this opportunity of You or my own selfish desire?” Persistent Paralyzing doubt gripped my mind as I agonized in prayer. I relished the thought of finishing my college education and becoming a teacher yet, many uncertainties filled my heart. The realization that the lives of my four children and other family members would be intertwined with each step along the way added to my uncertainty. Classes didn’t begin until the fall and since summer had just began, I decided to dedicate the months ahead to searching for God’s will for my life.
The days and weeks rapidly flew by, leaving me with greater distress as the time approached to register for classes. Although the longing hadn’t weakened, I continued to experience a tremendous lack of peace about enrolling. I felt as uncertain as Gideon when he put out a fleece before the Lord seeking to know if God truly intended to use him to defeat the Midianites saying, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as you have said” (Judges 6:36-38 ).
On the final day of registration, I awoke with the same tormenting doubts. I knelt in prayer beside the bed and prayed a prayer of release. I released all my hopes and dreams of attending college and becoming a teacher into God’s hands. I asked that He completely and totally remove the nagging reservations I felt in my heart as to His direction in such a way it would be impossible for me to doubt His leading. Otherwise I’d refuse to let myself ponder any longer about a college education. I hoped, as did Gideon, that the Lord would not be angry with me for this request and my inability to discern His direction (Judges 6:39 NKJV).
A knock at the front door interrupted my pleading with God. I jumped to my feet, wiping the tears from my eyes wondering who could be at my door that early in the morning. Judy, my neighbor, stood on the porch. “Veda, you’ll never guess what happened,” she said, “It’s about the couch….” Six months earlier, we’d redone our family room, so I’d given Judy and her husband our old brown-plaid couch. “Well, a few minutes ago, I was cleaning it—you know how messy the kids can get,” she continued, “I shoved my hand down next to the side cushion. When I pulled it out, this was on my ring finger.”
She opened her hand. A gold ring rested on her palm. The royal-blue stone shone brilliantly in the morning sun. I knew immediately it was my high school class ring. Two years ago, one of my daughters had gotten into my jewelry box and it had disappeared. I searched everywhere for it. Gone for good, I figured. I stared at Judy in amazement. “It’s your class ring, right?” Judy asked. She went on to say she had cleaned the couch multiple times before but never discovered the ring until that morning.
Stunned, I gazed at the class ring inscribed with my initials. Then I gave Judy a tight hug and slipped the ring on my finger. This was the undeniable confirmation I had sought. Closing the door, I again knelt in prayer. This time as Gideon had done, I worshiped the Lord for His clear direction. And as Gideon then prepared for battle (Judges 7:15), I prepared to register for college classes. That was 34 years ago. I recently retired after a fulfilling 30-year career in Education.
My heart still overflows with praise every time I recall His divine direction for my life. I now know the truth of Proverbs 3:5-6 as Gideon discovered, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (NKJV).
Trusting in the Lord with all our hearts goes beyond a mere intellectual acceptance of His word. Trusting is a deep reliance on the Lord, a settled confidence in His care and His faithfulness. Click to Tweet.
This trust is depicted in the account of Gideon. It’s necessary for obedience to any of God’s commands or directions. Leaning not to our own understanding will keep us from following our own perceived right course of action apart from God’s guidance or revealed truth.
Questions for Reflection and Application
- Think of a time you didn’t seek God for His direction. How did the situation turn out? How would it have been different had you sought for God’s guidance?
- How would remembering how God worked in the lives of characters such as Gideon and other Christians such as myself, help you as you struggle with discerning God’s will?
- What does the account of Gideon reveal about God’s patience towards His people and His determination to see that His will is accomplished through them?
Prayer of Dedication
Dear Father, may we sincerely seek You with all our hearts. May you prune us of sin and selfish desires that blind us to Your path for us. May you grant us the grace to follow Your revealed word and discernment to trust the leading of Your Holy Spirit. May we worship You for Your guidance and patience as we struggle within ourselves. Amen.