Where God guides

The first time I heard “Where God guides—He provides,” was during the time I desperately wanted to own a home, so we wouldn’t have to keep wondering where we’d live. I was standing on someone’s deck in Tahoe and staring at an expansive, grassy lawn. Bordered by pine and aspen, the lawn sloped down into a strawberry garden.

It was that typical tour you get when you visit people’s homes for the first time. This is how my husband always gives ours:

My first thought (and I probably said it back then because I’m still only an orange belt in watching my mouth) was, “I wish God would guide me.”

Granted, I’m sure financial reward isn’t the original intention of the phrase. I don’t even believe it was close to that man’s heart to say he had a great house because he was obedient to God and had signed the protestant work ethic contract. But when you have a deep hurt or strong desire like I did—everything filters through that lens.

I think the phrase “Where God Guides—He provides,” is supposed to mean that when it is God leading, he will open doors that only he could open to indicate the direction you should walk. You can also later look back and see how he had provided the way, miraculously.

However, it always seems to come off as a promise that God will show you his will by making something easy. And as per the fixation of our first-world lens, that translates to comfort, pleasure and profit. And sometimes, just stuff.

I heard something recently which challenges and refines the idea that, “Guidance equals provision.” It was phrased something like, “You need to be confident it actually is God’s leading, because sometimes he leads people to their death.”

God’s leading

Jesus followed God, but not because it was easy and pleasurable. He asked several times for a different solution. So, where God guided, God provided…but this is part of the mystery—the provision here was for us.

I think also of Paul. He longed for the salvation of his beloved countrymen, yet he was called to preach the gospel to Gentiles. And it was confirmed. And it was blessed. According to the phrase “where God guides,” and to my limited human mind, Paul would have been perfect for the Jews because he was a Hebrew of Hebrews. Everyone would have sat around talking about God’s provision for the young man named Saul. He had lineage, education, proximity both to important cities and people… instead he becomes Paul and preaches to those who are less swayed by all his earthly “provisions.”

It seems to me that it was particularly important to Peter (Cephas) how others viewed him and he especially sought esteem from the Jews before Paul rebuked him. Yet he was called to preach to the Hebrews even though he was a lowly fisherman—and not elevated in Jewish society. I’m probably reading between the lines, but I wonder if it’s possible he became very comfortable with the Gentiles, and saw them as brethren, but always had to wrestle with who he was in Christ when he served the Jews.

In another instance, David wanted to build the temple, but God said he could not. God ordained that David’s son, Solomon, would do it because of how much blood David shed. But you can see David’s longing in the thorough preparations he made for Solomon to build it. Here again, God’s leading in one life was provision for another, and it didn’t necessarily relieve all the desire in David’s heart.

God’s provision

Peter said regarding the prophets that they searched and inquired about Christ, the promise to come, and “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you.

We still reap from their labor.

It makes me wonder about my own life, the things I am led to spend time on, the things I wish for…they might not turn out to be a tangible reward in my palm this side in heaven. My provision might be death, instead of trinkets.

You as well, sister/brother—the things you love, labor and long for might become a provision for someone else. And you might still have God’s leading, even though it doesn’t result in a modern term of provision to prove it.

2 thoughts on “Where God guides

  1. Heather says:

    Plus it rhymes so it’s easy to remember. I’d never thought about Peter continuing to wrestle with his identity. When I read that someone has a moment of clarity I assume okay that’s done. Lesson learned. If only I worked that way. 😅

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