20. What if I missed the path that God wanted me to take?
Get on the new path! I think that it is indeed possible to miss the first and best path that God wants us to take, by our refusing to obey and follow Him or by our negligence. And I think this happens more than we realize. But God is a wise, sovereign God and He can see how any situation can be turned into good. And He’s always opening up new paths. So I would say that if you feel that you’ve missed an opportunity or a path that you knew God wanted you to take, don’t dwell on it. This prevents you from being of further use to Him.
And remember that He always knew the mistakes that we were going to make. They were no surprise to Him. He’ll never say, “Oh, gee! I didn’t know she was going to do that. Now that really messes up My plan. I guess I’ll have to tinker with some more ideas and see what I can put together to make use of that mistake.” From the beginning of time, He saw the mistakes we would make, and He saw how He could use them. His job is to work it into something good. Our job is to allow Him to, remaining in Him and being obedient from here on out.
This idea really relieved me of the guilty stress I was feeling when I was afraid that I botched up the whole “house buying” process by getting paperwork in late. I felt that I absolutely blew it and that God was now confused and confounded and didn’t know how to spin my human mistake into something good. I felt like I threw Him a curveball. But then, I realized that He knew all along that I would make that mistake. And that if it was still His plan that we get the house He wanted for us, He would be able to cover my mistake. That was such a freeing, merciful, gracious thought. And I could rest in Him, instead of continuing to beat myself up over it.
And you have to remember that you can never really know what would have happened or where you would be right now if you had taken that “other” path. Learn to like the path you are on, to enjoy the blessings and the good in it, and to glorify God in it. And don’t dwell on “what could’ve been.” There is no comfort in that and no glory for God in that. He is with you here-and-now, working the present situations into something good. He is not then-and-there, back on the path that you “should have” taken. He’s moved on to another good path and plan, and He’s asking you to come with Him. Glorify Him wherever you are!
[However, I am not talking here about the times that God does indeed want us to go back to the “then and there” to make things right. There are times when God might be waiting on us to stop glossing over some past mistake or failure and to go back and make it right. And our relationship with Him will be hindered until we do. Are you having an affair? Don’t just sweep it under the rug, thinking, Well, what’s done is done. I’m already this deep into it, may as well keep going with it. Make it right! Clean up your life. Have you cheated at something? It may be necessary for you to confess and come clean. Have you broken a vow? Make it right! Have you chosen a bad path? Figure out how to get off of it and how God wants you to correct it. Are you neglecting your responsibilities to your family so that you can pursue pleasure? Do the right thing from here on out. Never get comfortable in sin or on a wrong path. God will help you make it right if you ask for wisdom and are willing to obey.
James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
Lately, a particular part of that verse has jumped out at me, one that I never really noticed before: “without finding fault.” Somehow, I always missed that part, but once I noticed it, I was intrigued. To me, it says not only that God gives wisdom, but that no matter what kind of mess we got ourselves into, God will help us get out . . . without condemnation, without rubbing our noses in it. He will not smugly say, “I told you so” or hold back His help just to punish us further. That kind of stuff is from the enemy. But God gives wisdom when we ask, without overemphasizing the fact that we got ourselves into this mess. He just wants to help us get out. That should be comforting to all of us.]