Messages from Young Adults

Direction and Discernment

I often am hesitant about making what I see as big life decisions. Where does God want me? What does He have planned for me, and how can I remain faithful to those plans? In Numbers 9:15-23, Moses describes how the people of Israel were led through their desert times after the Exodus. A cloud hovered over the tabernacle during the day, and looked like fire at night. When God wanted Israel to strike camp and move on, the cloud would lift off from the tabernacle; Israel then followed it wherever it went, and settled wherever it settled.

Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with His command through Moses.

— Numbers 9:22-23

Israel didn’t know where they were going. They didn’t know the plan, weren’t told the big picture. They just followed, even when nothing made sense. As hymn-writer E.S. Hall put it: “I may not know the way I go, but oh, I know my Guide.”

The beauty and appeal of this concept is astounding. But it’s not my story. I’ve often sought out for direction in my life choices, but have rarely gotten an answer. I don’t know what form of answer I was expecting, but I couldn’t figure out one way or the other what God wanted me to do. No matter the sincerity or duration of my prayers for guidance (though, admittedly, when it comes to prayer, I’m an extreme lightweight), no Voice from Heaven, closed and opened doors, or lighted path ever emerged. Not when I was choosing which college to go to, which professional career path to pursue, which law school to attend, or which job to work this summer. One exception may be my work for Summer 2008, with CASA, where of all the jobs I applied to, it was the only one that took me on. Nevertheless, even in hindsight, I’m still not sure why that was, though I suppose I’m asking too much.

So on this post I open it up to the wisdom of the readers: please post in your comments stories of how God has led you, directed you, or given discernment. I urge you to be open — even if anonymous — for, whether you realize it or not, it will be of great encouragement and edification to both me and all the other readers.

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  • Rhonda B said:

    Hey Mithun. I think all of us go through this stage at one point or another (for some people like me – at multiple points) especially when you start trying to give all your decisions to God.

    For me, I know that I am very bad at making decisions on my own – experience has taught me that. So my prayer life always gets more intense whenever I have a major decision to make. And part of that prayer involves me asking God to close every door and block every path that is wrong for me, so that only His way remains.

    I remember it working out like that when I was deciding what to study in University. I applied for a few different programs and I had the grades to get into all of them. But I only got into one – and it was almost by accident. But of course there are no accidents with God. Anyway since I have been following that career path I have found that it fits extremely well with the gifts that God has given me. But I know I would have never figured it out and I would have never looked at channeling that gift towards a career unless I had gone through the program I did.

    A bit long – but I hope you get the point. I believe that if you really really want to do God’s will in your heart of hearts, you should pray sincerely and often and ask for direction, and then get up and move. God will make sure you end up in the right path.

  • Kemi said:

    Wow. You and mii both Mithun, it’s like your stole my thoughts and put them on paper. I recently watched this sermon by Ps. Nixon Jr (North Carolina, and he outlines this 7 step process. I don’t know if it works but I just started the process myself.

    Step 1: Surrender your will to God: You do this by admitting you have a preference,

    I’ll leave the rest to you


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