The summer I graduated from high school, my mom gave me a small package to open. It was a season of many changes and new beginnings that felt big and scary. I remember wanting the box to hold keys to a new car to drive to school or something else exciting to celebrate this new season. But what that small box held was more meaningful than my 18-year-old-self understood at the time. It was a passage of Scripture she had quoted to me for many years, typed out and framed, with my name inserted throughout:

 And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them (Is. 42:16).

That verse hung in my dorm room, in my first apartment, and even now in my first home. Early on, when she first gave it to me, I often looked at it and thought, what does it mean that “the Lord will turn darkness into life before me and make the rough places smooth” in my life? I was leaving the comfort of my parents’ home and beginning life as an adult. I was at a time in my life when questions of career, where I would live, and whether I would get married consumed my thoughts. I wanted to seek the Lord as I discerned His will, but truthfully, I also wanted to make the “right” decision. The Lord began to show me my decisions were more about Him and less about me. As I found myself paralyzed by fear in both big and small decisions, the Lord was gracious to show me that His Word was where I needed to focus in order to understand and discern His will.

He is a God who asks us to seek Him.

During Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He spoke what is now one of the most quoted passages in the Bible: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). We are to seek the face of God, seeking to glorify Him before seeking our own will. There are many ways and places that we glorify God. We all face big life decisions about where to live, what to do for a career, whom to marriage, and more. All are important, and yet there are many paths we can take to glorify God. The Bible does not say where we should live or what career we should choose, but He does say to seek Him first and that our life was created for His glory (1 Cor. 10:31). When we seek Him first, we are freed from carrying the burdens of our life, freed from anxiety and worry, and freed to know that the Lord holds our life in His hand and will provide for us.

 He is a God who has written our story.

Psalm 139 shows us how deeply the Lord knows and loves His children:

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (vv. 15-16).

Before we were even born, our story was written— a story ordained by the God of the universe. We can’t change His story. We can’t mess it up. As we discern God’s will, we must go back to the truth of Scripture that God not only knows our story, but He carefully wrote it. It is a beautiful and comforting thing to know He invites us into His will and only asks us to trust Him for what is best.

He is a God who leads.

The Israelites could not see what was in front of them. They didn’t know the Lord was going to part the Red Sea. They couldn’t see the Promised Land or that the Lord had a far greater plan for them than they could understand. God’s people often struggled to trust Him. They tried many times to take things into their own hands. But God remained faithful. He never stopped leading them. He promised to lead them on unfamiliar paths, to turn the darkness before them into light, and that He would not forsake them. That promise is true for all His children. We can’t see the future, but He can. We don’t know the big picture of what the Lord has for us, but He does. It doesn’t mean life will be easy, but our heavenly Father will be before us and with us the entire way. Discerning God’s will is much more about walking in faith and trusting Him to lead us than it is about making the “right” decision.

He is a God who give us what we need to discern His will. 

I’ve often thought that I would love for God to write in the sky what He wants me to do. While that may not be the case, there are three things He provides as practical tools for discerning His will.

1) His Word. Scripture is full of His commands and promises for our lives. His voice is all throughout Scripture, leading us as we seek His will (Joshua 1:8).

2) Prayer. He is a God who not only deserves our attention and worship, but a God who longs for His children to cry out to Him. He is a God who answers prayer (Luke 11:9-13).

3) Community. We were not meant to live this life alone. When discerning God’s will, it is good to include the body of Christ. We all need a few faithful friends, whether it be a mentor or peers whom we trust to speak into our lives. We need those who will remind us of God’s Word, who know us well and will come alongside us in love (Heb. 10:24-25). The Lord did not leave us alone in discerning His will. He gave us His Word; He opened the door for us to Himself through prayer, and He gave us the body of Christ to be united with others in this journey.

Much of life is walking in faith and taking the next step. We cannot see the future or the big picture God sees, but we can trust in a God who has led His children from the very beginning, through the very best and the very worst. As the last words of Isaiah 42:16 says, “I do not forsake them.” My mom knew I needed the words of Isaiah to remind me of His truth in a season of so many decisions. And I need those words just as much today, all these years later. May we be women who walk in faith, trusting the One who will never forsake us.

Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash

Bethany Belue

Bethany Belue is on staff with CDM serving in various roles within Children’s Ministry. Before coming on staff at CDM, she served as the Children’s Director at Redeemer PCA in New York City and Oak Mountain PCA in Birmingham, AL. She currently lives in Mobile, AL with her husband, Dustin, who is the assistant pastor at Grace Community Church PCA.  In addition to  discipling her own children, Patterson and Neely, she enjoys serving on the women’s ministry team at church and discipling younger women and children.  Her passion is to help others walk with Jesus all of their days and prayerfully be used to grow and deepen the kingdom the God.