I’ve always thought that I could get through just about anything if the Lord would tell me what the outcome would be. I believe that “all things work together for good” in the end (Rom. 8:28), but I’d do a lot better in dark times if I knew exactly what the “good” would look like.
But God usually doesn’t show us where He is taking us. He just asks us to trust Him. It’s like driving a car at night. Our headlights never shine all the way to our destination; they illuminate only about 160 feet ahead. But that doesn’t deter us from moving forward. We trust our headlights. All we really need is enough light to keep moving forward.
God’s Word is like headlights in dark times. It is full of promises we need to keep us from driving our lives into the ditch of bitterness and despair. His Word promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). His Word assures us that He knows the plans He has for us, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give us “a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11). And He tells us that our trials are there to make us better, not bitter (James 1:2-4).
So the next time you feel as if you’re driving in the dark, remember to trust your headlights—God’s Word will light your way.
The Word of God provides the light We need to see the way; It shows us what we need to know So we won’t go astray. —Sper
MANI KAUL: When I made A Day’s Bread, I wanted to completely destroy any semblance of a realistic development, so that I could construct the film almost in the manner of a painter. In fact, I’ve been a painter and a musician. You could make a painting where the brush stroke is completely subservient to the figure, which is what the narrative is, in a film. But you can also make a painting stroke by stroke so that both the figure and the strokes are equal. I constructed A Day’s Bread shot by shot, in this second way, so that the “figure” of the narrative is almost not taking shape in realistic terms. All the cuts are delayed, thought there is a preempting of the generally even rhythm sometimes, when the film is a projection of the woman’s fantasies.
SEMINARIAN: When you were shooting A Day’s Bread, did you mentally picture those shots? Or did the specific shots come along as you rehearsed?
MAIN KAUL: With a A Day’s Bread, it was strange. I had a dream. In the dream, I saw a filmstrip lying on the floor, and on it I saw all the shots. So I had a very strong sense of what I was going to do.
–A Critical Cinema 3: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers
Because I’m a writer, occasionally a friend will say to me, “I want to write a book someday.”
“That’s a worthy goal,” I reply, “and I hope you do write a book. But it’s better to be one than to write one.”
I’m thinking of the apostle Paul’s words: “Clearly you are an epistle of Christ … written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart” (2 Cor. 3:3).
In his book The Practice of Piety, Lewis Bayly, chaplain to England’s King James I, said that “one who hopes to effect any good by his writings” will find that he will “instruct very few… . The most powerful means, therefore, of promoting what is good is by example… . One man in a thousand can write a book to instruct his neighbors… . But every man can be a pattern of living excellence to those around him.”
The work that Christ is doing in believers can result in an influence far greater than any book they might write. Through God’s Word, written “on their hearts” (Jer. 31:33), the Lord is displaying His love and goodness for all to see.
As a Christian, you may never write a book, but by living for God you will be one! You will be an open book, an “epistle of Christ” for all to read.
Oh, we would write our record plain And come in time to see Our unsaved neighbors won to Christ While reading you and me. —Anon.
One of the smartest people I know is a college friend who became a Christian while studying at a state university. He graduated with honors and went on to study at a respected seminary. He served a small church as pastor for several years and then accepted a call to another small church far from family and friends. After 12 years at that church, he sensed that the congregation needed new leadership, so he stepped down. He hadn’t been offered a job at a bigger church or a teaching position at a college or seminary. In fact, he didn’t even have another job. He just knew that God was leading him in a different direction, so he followed.
When we discussed it, my friend said, “A lot of people talk about being called to something, but I don’t hear much about being called fromsomething.”
In many ways, my friend’s obedience was like that of Israel’s patriarch Abraham, who went out, not knowing where God was leading (Heb. 11:8-10). Difficulties like famine (Gen. 12:10), fear (vv.11-20), and family disputes (13:8) gave reason for doubt, but Abraham persevered and because of his faith God counted him as righteous (Gal. 3:6).
A life of obedience may not be easy, but it will be blessed (Luke 11:28).
As Abraham went out, Not knowing where he was going; Now, Lord, keep me from doubt, To go the way You are showing. —Hess
A hotel in Singapore introduced an express buffet-eat all you can in 30 minutes and pay just half the price! After that experience, one diner reported: “I lost my decorum, stuffing my mouth with yet more food. I lost my civility… and I lost my appetite for the rest of the day, so severe was my heartburn.”
Sometimes I think in our devotional reading we treat God’s Word like an express buffet. We wolf it down as fast as we can and wonder why we haven’t learned very much. Like physical food, spiritual food needs chewing! For those of us who have been Christians for a long time, we may have a tendency to speed-read through the passages we’ve read many times before. But in doing so, we miss what God is meaning to show us. One sure sign of this is when we learn nothing new from that passage.
David’s desire was right when he wrote in Psalm 119:15, “I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.” That’s the way to treat God’s Word- to take time to mull it over.