“He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” (Psalm 25:9).
Why can’t men ask for directions when they are lost? Why can’t they read an instructional manual when they don’t know how to do something? These are questions that have been asked by women for some time. However, as women have gained prominence in the workplace and power in positions of leadership, they are often guilty of not asking for help as well. Many of us who have become accustomed to appearing strong and in control are fearful that asking for help will exhibit signs of weakness or incompetence. Asking for directions is like admitting defeat. For if we assume that when all else fails, we should ask for or read the directions – does that then make us the failure for needing to do so? James, the half-brother of Jesus, gave us a powerful promise when he wrote, ” If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). James would tell us that it’s perfectly okay to acknowledge that in those times when we don’t know what to do, we should ask God for wisdom and direction believing that we will receive an answer.
I remember once reading that many years ago an Irish evangelist was speaking about how we should learn to test God in every trial and difficulty. To emphasize his point, he told those present that when they found themselves challenged by circumstances where they needed direction – they were to prompt themselves to say . . . “For this I have Jesus.” During his message, one young lady in attendance received word that her mother was quite ill and that she should take the train home immediately. She was challenged by her uneasiness and the lack of direction ahead. She had never experienced taking such a long journey alone. Then she remembered the words of the evangelist, as a feeling of peace and strength came over her. Weeks later, the evangelist received a letter from her thanking him for his humble, yet practical message. She had come to realize that no matter what difficulties she would face in life, there was understanding that finding direction would lie within one certain phrase – “For this I have Jesus.”
God’s Word gives us one example after another of persons who lacked direction. In one case, Joshua was deceived when he relied on his own judgment but neglected to ask God for help. Joshua 9:14 admits that “The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD.” Someone once said that he who knows not and knows that he knows not is a wise man, but he who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool. Perhaps then, Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, was no fool. When a vast army had gathered against Jerusalem, and the king realized what he was up against – he knew where to turn for guidance. He uttered this prayer: “Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12). Even Peter, one of Jesus’ very own disciples, confessed the need for direction when he stated: “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life” (John 6:68).
There is certainly nothing wrong in admitting that the course we have been seeking is beyond our limited understanding. However, God knows what we should do, and He is always close by and available to us. We can’t expect that He will knock us over the head to get our attention, but He will respond to our simple cry of, “Lord, I need your help.” We can come to Him in prayer to seek wisdom and direction for both big and small decisions. Billy Graham once said, “Heaven is full of answers to prayers for which no one ever bothered to ask.” The psalmist would tell us that we simply need to know where to look: “Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts” (Psalm 119:2). God is loving and powerful, and He wants us to come to Him instead of trying to do things our own way. In doing so we must seek His will, even when it appears to be contrary to the path we had in mind. So when you find yourself fumbling through life, dare to remember the phrase – “For this I have Jesus.” As you look toward Heaven for your answer, do so with patience by simply letting God know . . . “My eyes are upon you.”
REFLECTION: When you ask God for help, are you truly looking for His direction or are you seeking confirmation of what you already believe to be true? Are you in need of an answer to a prayer that you have not yet prayed? What is holding you back from submitting this to Him for direction? Might you be fearful that the answer you will receive might conflict with your present beliefs and understanding?