Saturday, August 2, 2008

God Knows Best

God Knows Best

Carol Van Atta

God says, “This day I call heaven and earth as witness against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord you God…” Duet. 30:19-20a NIV

I grasped on tightly to the reins and lowered my head into a flowing charcoal mane, as the jet-black stallion pounded down the hard damp sand. To an onlooker, it might have appeared that I was having the time of my life racing down the seashore that sunny, summer afternoon. but, as we all know, perceptions can be very deceiving.

No…! Stop!” I screamed at the snorting beast, as he barreled forward. This black-beauty had earned his name, Streaker, on more than one occasion. At fourteen, I believed I could handle anything, even a horse known for his unpredictable and often dangerous antics. Just an hour earlier, as me and my mother stood at the horse stable, I had been given the option to select a well-behaved mare, or, this now devilish creature charging forward with no regard for the terrified teen on his back--me.

Thoughts of my mom’s earlier warning echoed through my mind, as I waited for the inevitable fall…

"Honey, I don’t have a good feeling about this. Why not pick her? She’s such a pretty horse.” My mom attempted to redirect my attention away from the feisty stallion to what I considered an obviously docile old horse. Sure, she was a pretty chestnut, with soft eyes, but I wanted speed and excitement. Streaker was for me!

“Young lady, this horse has had some problems. He is really only for a highly experienced rider.” The cowboy-clad-gentleman warned.

“But, Mom, I am experienced. Tell him.” I pleaded. My mom just shook her head, surrendering to the fact that this was a battle I was determined to win and a situation where I was bound to become the chief looser.

“Alright then, sign here. It’s ride at your own risk.” The cowboy shrugged.

Well, it was too late now. I would have to find a way off this horse, and fast. My saddle was slowly inching its way over to the right side of Streaker, who displayed no sign of tiring. Soon, I’d be hanging upside down between his churning legs. With a heroic push, I threw myself off his back, just avoiding the deadly flying hoofs. As I thudded onto the hard-packed sand, I wished one more time that I had heeded my mom’s advice.

“Where’s my mom?” I cried as a crowd formed around my still form. I couldn’t move, and fear had replaced my earlier bravado. It was then I saw them, the blue tennis shoes racing toward me. It was her, my mom, who had been watching me from a safe distance.

“Oh honey, lay still. I’m here. It’s okay.” She gently stroked my hair.

Later, as I journeyed back to the city, courtesy of a local ambulance company, it again occurred to me, how little I knew. I was also surprised. My mom never once said, “I told you so,” or “how stupid can you be?” No, instead she just loved me in spite of my own poor choice.

I wish I could say from that day forth, I listened to my mother’s sound advice. But, sadly, it has taken me close to forty years to realize just how right she often was. Amazingly, today I see so much of Jesus in her. God too guides, directs, and demonstrates to me what path will be the most fruitful for me to follow. But so often, I choose to take what I consider the more thrilling road, only to discover, as I did that day so many years ago, high atop a horse named Streaker, I still don’t always know what is best for me. But God does. I don’t fall off horses anymore, but I still “fall” in other areas of my life. It is as I brush off the dirt of life’s hardships, when the following thought comes to mind -- God knows best.

I learned in the Old Testament God continually warned the Israelites about the consequences to their poor choices. They would remember, listen, and obey Him for a season, and then return to the old pattern of doing what felt good, or seemed right, for the moment, only later to find they had again traveled the wrong road, and had fallen into captivity. Instead of wagging my finger at my rebellious ancestors, or shaking my head in amazement at their stupidity, I believe God would rather have me take a long look into the mirror of my own life, where I can examine the state of my own heart.

I have learned that I cannot climb onto the back of an untamed stallion and expect not to fall. Today, I try to heed the many words spoken through Moses in Deuteronomy. Here, God clearly explains the consequences of choosing to disobey His Word, and also describes in great detail the incredible blessings available to us if we will follow our Lord’s leading.

Today, when I fall, and we all do, I remember I have something the Israelites didn’t have. I have the love and forgiveness of Christ.

1 John 1:9 (NIV) declares, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. So, today I confess!

John 16:33 (NIV) reminds us, I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. I have hope! Because…

Now, when I am tempted to head down those roads not safely selected on my Heavenly Father’s divine map, I can choose to turn around, immediately, and go the other way—His way. After all, He has clearly shown us the right way to travel; it is up to us follow His directions, because God does know best … always.

I hope you enjoyed this article that I wrote several years ago. Its message remains unchanging. God always knows the best way for His princess warriors to travel. When we seek our own agendas, we so easily trip and fall, finding ourselves wishing we'd consulted and obeyed our King. If you're on a wrong path today, it's not too late to make a change. Turn around! Call out to your King. He will guide you back to the right road. Don't wait, sister!

Also, I'd like to invite you to visit my other blog. I'm currently asking readers on that site to share personal stories of how God speaks to them. Please take a peek and share your experiences.


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