Wandering In His Way

11 Jul

“Lead us not into Temptation.”  Of all the lines in the Lord’s Prayer this is probably the hardest plow to get hitched to the ox.   Surely Christ did not mean to propose that an acceptable alternative for God was, to lead us into temptation.  James writes that no man is tempted by God but is drawn away by his own lust.  Leading a soul into temptation is completely opposed to God’s Holiness.  Would, “Lead us away from temptation” be in harmony with God’s Holiness?  Yes, but is it the same meaning for Christ’s words?  Is “not into” equal to “away from”?  Not completely.  If North is “into temptation”, south would be away from temptation, but East and West would also be “not into temptation”.

There are times when God is leading defenders of the fatherless East and West.  Sometimes those journeys can seem like treading the razor’s edge.  The neutral-ground times are not aimless wandering.  God is building trust and confidence in His leadership and the razor’s edge is for the crucifying of self.  So when God is “leading us not into temptation” it is a time of honing, a time of letting go of trust in self and becoming comfortable with Spirit led direction and depth control of the ox and plow.  It seems that God knows our compass better than we know it or at least better than the ability we have to plow the field by it.  We can think it feels like we are going true east or west with the Spirit, the flesh influences our trek to the North, into temptation, and we look back and see a crooked furrow.  Sometimes our ox is straining at the plow and making no progress because the plow is set too deep.  And sometimes we feel like we sure are making tracks and going places and we look back and see that the plow was not turning over any soil at all.  So, back and forth we go being led “not into temptation”.  All the while our biggest temptation in those times is believing we are not being led.

Don’t trade out the ox when it has been confirmed or proven to be the good, perfect and acceptable God-plan for your life.  God has His most divinely inspired establishing-His-Will times in our lives when He is “leading us not into temptation”, but it seems to us as if we are wondering in circles on neutral ground.  Remember when God was leading His chosen people, the Israelites, around the neutral ground of the wilderness.  They even had visible signs to confirm His directions with the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.  He wanted to establish His Fatherhood.  He wanted them to trust enough to obey.  They assumed His Lead-us-not time was merely aimless wandering.  Despite the “signs” they assumed they were not being led and so often they wanted to change the ox.  They abandoned the goal of the Promised Land and desired to return to Egypt.  When the journey seemed to take too long and when the sacrifice required seemed to be too great, they lost their sense of commitment.

Defending the Fatherless is a long-term journey and at times requires great sacrifice.  If the fatherless are going to be ministered to, they need the commitment and stability of those who are dedicated for the long haul.  This is not a short-term mission.  It can be brutally hard.  Even for those who have counted the cost there will be times when they are tempted to return to Egypt.  Fatherless lives that have been stripped of almost all elements of trust cannot afford further disappointments of trust.  God who is their ultimate defender understands this and for that reason alone He takes mortal, would-be defenders East and West.  Back and forth across the painful edge of waiting…learning.  Honing and refining commitment for the protection of trust He has so much desire to build in the defenders of the fatherless, first.  Secondly then, that trust is transferred into the fatherless and orphans.  We are also exposed to the empathy we should have for those we will be defending, the fatherless, as they learn to trust us.

When we experience times when we are confronted by people who do not completely trust us, it is difficult at best and painful at worst.  By nature, we sense it and it causes us to recoil.  We are fortunate that God does not recoil when He senses our lack of complete trust.  He patiently establishes His good and perfect and acceptable will.  In the fatherless, complete lack of trust is the norm.  We are asked to become like God in our refusal to recoil and to not take it personally.  We are asked to rely on the empathetic lessons God has taught us and respond in a good and acceptable and perfected-by-love kind of patience that is of the Holy Spirit.  Back and forth.  Success and failure.  Learning to trust.

The canvas God is painting our life on is truly faith.  Not with oils, acrylics or watercolors but the media is His Sovereign Sway.  “Lead us not into temptation” is truly about trust.  In the lyrics of a song by The Jars of Clay comes this same thought of trust.  “Leave to His sovereign sway to choose and to command.  Then shall we wandering on His way know how wise and how strong is His hand.”  Trust is safety and defenders of the fatherless are asked to represent that as a big part of God’s love. It is a big part of sharing hope with hearts.

2 Responses to “Wandering In His Way”

  1. Shari F. July 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Thanks for putting into words a concept that I’ve thought about, but couldn’t put into words. Thanks for sharing your gift of writing with us. May your week be blessed! We love you!

  2. don and suzie fiechter July 11, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    I really appreciated your insights on “not into temptation.” I also appreciate your encouragement on loving those who seemingly aren’t able or willing to trust us. I found yesterday afternoon to be a real blessing. Thanks again for your friendship and encouragement . We love you!
    Don and Suzie

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