One of the greatest comforts of serving Jesus is to know that we don’t have to figure out life on our own! In fact, we’re much better off following after God than trying to chart our own path. Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, insisted, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6, NKJV).
In the book of Exodus, we find the account of the children of Israel marching toward the Promised Land. Throughout their journey, the Bible tells us that the presence of the Lord went before them as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. The only way the people knew the way to go was to follow the path of God’s presence. Today, we may not be following a cloud or a pillar of fire, but God continues to go in front of His followers, leading them by His Spirit. He shows us the way and prepares the road ahead of us. When we’re following Him, we have the assurance that the path we are walking on has been walked on before by the Lord Himself!
Recently, I took a step of faith to do something I had never done before by releasing a print book of devotional writings. Since it was new to me, I naturally felt nervous and uncomfortable. I prayed, “God please help me with this, because this is uncharted territory for me.” Later, as I thought about my prayer, I realized that I actually was not walking on uncharted territory. While the path may have been new to me, it was not new to God! He went down the path long before I did, and He prepared the way ahead of me. You see, as long as we’re following God, there really is no such thing as uncharted territory.
Why does God go to such great lengths to prepare our paths? It’s because our lives are so important to Him. You can usually tell how important something is to someone by the amount of planning they put into it. Think about a bride preparing for a wedding ceremony, a government official preparing for an important speech, or an architect planning for the construction of a new building. In each case, they don’t just “wing it” or throw it together at the last minute. Months or even years of careful planning go into ensuring that the ceremony, the speech, or the structure is well-suited to fulfill its purpose.
In an even greater way, God has carefully planned our lives to fulfill a special purpose. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jer. 29:11, NLT).
You are so important to Him that He has planned every detail of your life. The psalmist David realized this truth and proclaimed to God, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Psalm 139:16, NLT).
When you know God has gone before you, you can be confident in the steps you take for Him. God promised Joshua, “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you” (Joshua 1:3). He promised Cyrus, “I will go before you and make the crooked places straight” (Isaiah 45:2). I believe God’s promise is the same for us today when we’re following after Him. So move boldly into the things He has called you to do. Even when you can’t see what’s ahead, rest assured that God has already gone before you and prepared the way for victory!