When I'm out in public with the kids, one of my biggest pet peeves is when they run ahead of me. More often than not, I have to call them back because they've headed in a direction that we aren't going.
How often do I do that? Run ahead of God without realizing He's calling me to a different direction. I'm sure I've done it more times than I care to admit. I make plans, write out goals, pray and then tell God to follow me. Of course, I wouldn't think this is what I'm doing, but that's exactly what I'm doing when I don't first submit my way to His.
When God called the nation of Israel from their wilderness wanderings into the Promised Land, He had strict guidelines for them: follow the ark of the covenant that the priests were carrying which would go before them. The ark represented God's covenant with His people as well as His presence.
As the priests stepped into the waters of the Jordan River, the waters receded a la Red Sea style and the people were able to pass over. The principle here is: the nation of Israel followed and God worked wonders in their midst.
“When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.” Joshua 3:3-4
It was crucial for them to wait on the priests who were carrying the ark and to follow the it because they'd never gone this way before. And I've never lived this life before, so how arrogant of me to think I can list out my life where I want my life to go and expect God to line up with it.
The older I get the more I realize just how important it is to have God's promise and presence go before me. Lately, my prayer has been: "Lord, what's next for me? I submit my will to You." Sure, I've got dreams and goals, but I'm ever examining them in light of God's leading. How I'd wish I'd learned this truth earlier in life.
“Dreams are tawdry when compared with the leading of God, and not worthy of the aura of wonder we usually surround them with. God only doeth wonders. He does nothing else. His hand can work nothing less.” ― Jim Elliot
So here's to stepping into the waters, following hard after God and watching Him do wonders.