"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…"
Learning how to receive God's Guidance and determine God's will is one of the great and necessary lessons of the Christian life. The following Scriptures and thoughts should be helpful in seeking to understand this all important subject.
Psalm 32: 8: "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go."
Proverbs 3:6: "In all you ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths."
Psalms 18:32: "It is God that girdeth me with strength and maketh my way perfect."
THE WILL OF GOD. How important it is to ascertain the will of God, before we undertake anything, because we are then not only blessed in our own souls, but also the work of our hands will prosper. Just in as many points as we are acting according to the mind of God, in so many are we blessed and made a blessing. Our manner of living is according to the mind of the Lord, for He delights in seeing His children thus come to Him (Matt. 6); and therefore, though I am weak and erring in many points, yet He blesses me in this particular.
First of all, to see well to it, that the work in which he desires to be engaged is God's work;
secondly, that he is the person to be engaged in this work;
thirdly, that God's time is come, when he should do this work;
and then to be assured, that, if he seeks God's help in His own appointed way, He will not fail him. We have ever found it thus, and expect to find it thus, on the ground of the promises of God, to the end of our course.
1. Be slow to take new steps in the Lord's service, or in your business, or in your families. Weigh everything well; weigh all in the light of the Holy Scriptures, and in the fear of God. 2. Seek to have no will of your own, in order to ascertain the mind of God, regarding any steps you propose to take, so that you can honestly say, you are willing to do the will of God, if He will only please to instruct you. 3. But when you have found out what the will of God is, seek for His help, and seek it earnestly, perseveringly, patiently, believingly, and expectingly: and you will surely, in His own time and way, obtain it. We have not to rush forward in self-will and say, I will do the work, and I will trust the Lord for means, this cannot be real trust, it is the counterfeit of faith, it is presumption; and though God, in great pity and mercy, may even help us finally out of debt; yet does this, on no account, prove that we were right in going forward before His time was come. We ought, rather, under such circumstances to say to ourselves: "Am I indeed doing the work of God?" And if so, I may not be the person to do it; or if I am the person, His time may not yet be come for me to go forward; it may be His good pleasure to exercise my faith and patience. I ought, therefore, quietly to wait His time; for when it is come, God will help. Acting on this principle brings blessing. To ascertain the Lord's will we ought to use scriptural means. Prayer, the word of God, and His Spirit should be united together. We should go to the Lord repeatedly in prayer, and ask Him to teach us by His Spirit through His word. I say by His Spirit through His word. For if we should think that His Spirit led us to do so and so, because certain facts are so and so, and yet His word is opposed to the step which we are going to take, we should be deceiving ourselves. No situation, no business will be given to me by God, in which I have not time enough to care about my soul. Therefore, however outward circumstances may appear, it can only be considered as permitted of God, to prove the genuineness of my love, faith, and obedience, but by no means as the leading of His providence to induce me to act contrary to His revealed will."—George Müller, quoted in, A.T. Pierson, George Mueller of Bristol, p. 231,232.
I never remember, in all my Christian course, a period now (in March 1895) of sixty-nine years and four months, that I ever SINCERELY and PATIENTLY sought to know the will of God by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, through the instrumentality of the word of God, but I have been ALWAYS directed rightly. But if honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking, or if I did not patiently wait upon God for instruction, or if I preferred the counsel of my fellow men to the declarations of the word of the living God, I made great mistakes."—George Müller, quoted in, A.T. Pierson, George Mueller of Bristol
Another fact that grows more conspicuous with the perusal of every new page in his journal is that in things common and small, as well as uncommon and great, he took no step without first asking counsel of the oracles of God and seeking guidance from Him in believing prayer. It was his life-motto to learn the will of God before undertaking anything, and to wait till it is clear, because only so can one either be blessed in his own soul or prospered in the work of his hands. [Vol. I.74]. Many disciples who are comparatively bold to seek God's help in great crises, fail to come to Him with like boldness in matters that seem too trivial to occupy the thought of God or invite the interposition of Him who numbers the very hairs of our heads and suffers not one hair to perish. The writer of this journal escaped this great snare and carried even the smallest matter to the Lord."—George Müller, quoted in, A.T. Pierson, George Mueller of Bristol, p. 40.
"The man who lives only for God’s will may depend upon it that God takes Him for his reckoning. This surrender will lead us deeper into the consciousness of our utter impotence, but also deeper into the fellowship and the likeness of the beloved Son, and make us partakers of all the blessedness and love that the Son has prepared for us. There is nothing that will bring us closer to God in union with Christ than loving and keeping and doing the will of God."—Andrew Murray, Like Christ
"If you want to ï¬?nd strength with rest, joy with fruitfulness, and peace with provision, there is only one place for you to be: in the very center of God’s will."—Andrew Murray, God's Will
"I seek at the beginning to get my heart in such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
I seek the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Spirit guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
I ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me aright.
This calmness of mind, this having no will of my own in the matter, this only wishing to please my Heavenly Father in it, this only seeking His and not my honor in it, this state of heart, I say is the fullest assurance to me that my heart is not under a fleshly excitement, and that, if helped thus to go on, I shall know the will of God to the full."—Roger Steer, The Spiritual Secrets of George Müller (OMF Books: Robesonia, PA, 1987), pp 40,42 (www.omf.org)
"Many children of God are so deeply exercised on the matter of guidance that it may be helpful to give a few suggestions as to knowing the way in which our Father would have us walk, and the work He would have us do. The importance of the subject cannot be exaggerated; so much of our power and peace consists in knowing where God would have us be, and in being just there.
The manna only falls where the cloudy pillar broods. If we are precisely where our heavenly Father would have us be, we can be perfectly sure He will provide food and raiment, and everything beside.
How much of our Christian work has been abortive because we have persisted in initiating it for ourselves, instead of ascertaining what God was doing and where He required of our presence? We dream bright dreams of success. We try to command it. We call to our aid all kinds of expedients, questionable or otherwise. At last we turn back, disheartened and ashamed, like children who are torn and scratched by the brambles, and soiled by the quagmire. None of this had come about if only we had been, from the first, under God’s unerring guidance. He might test us, but He could not allow us to mistake.
There are certain practical directions which we must attend in order that we may be led into the mind of the Lord.
I.—Our Motives Must be Pure.
"When thine eye is single, thy whole body is also full of light." (Luke 11: 34) So long as there is some thought of personal advantage, some idea of acquiring the praise and commendation of men, some aim at self-aggrandizement, it will be simply impossible to find out God’s purpose concerning us.
II.—Our Will Must be Surrendered.
"My judgment is just; because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5: 30) This was the secret which Jesus not only practiced, but taught. In one form or another He was constantly insisting on a surrendered will, as the key to perfect knowledge. "If any man will do His will, he shall know."
It is for the lack of this subordination that we so often miss the guidance we seek. There is a secret controversy between our will and God’s. And we shall never be right till we have let Him take, and break, and make. Oh! Do seek for that. If you cannot give, let Him take. If you are not willing, confess that you are willing to be made willing.
III.—We Must Seek Information for our Mind.
It is of the greatest importance that we should feed our minds with facts, with reliable information, with the results of human experience, and (above all) with the teachings of the Word of God. Notice how full the Bible is of biography and history, so that there is hardly a single crisis in our lives that may not be matched from those wondrous pages. There is no book like the Bible for casting a light on the dark landings of human life.
We have no need or right to run hither and thither to ask our friends what we ought to do; but there is no harm in our taking pains to gather all reliable information, on which the flame of holy thought and consecrated purpose may feed and grow strong. For the most part God will speak in the results of deliberate consideration, weighing and balancing the pros and cons.
IV.—We Must be Much in Prayer for Guidance.
The Psalms are full of earnest pleadings for clear direction: "Show me Thy way, Oh Lord, lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies." It is the law of our Father’s house that His children shall ask for what they want. "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not."
One good form of prayer at such a juncture is to ask that doors may be shut, that the way be closed, and that all enterprises which are not according to God’s will may be arrested at their very beginning. Put the matter absolutely into God’s hands from the outset, and He will not fail to shatter the project and defeat the aim which is not according to His holy will.
V.—We Must Wait for the Gradual Unfolding of God’s Plan in Providence.
God’s impressions within and His word without are always corroborated by His Providence around, and we should quietly wait until these three focus into one point.
Sometimes it looks as if we are bound to act. Everyone says we must do something; and, indeed, things seem to have reached so desperate a pitch that we must.. Behind are the Egyptians; right and left are inaccessible precipices; before is the sea. It is not easy at such times to stand still and see the salvation of God; but we must.
Sometimes men sigh for an angel to come to point them their way; that simply indicates that as yet the time has not come for them to move. If you do not know what you ought to do, stand still until you do. And when the time comes for action, circumstances, like glowworms, will sparkle along your path; and you will become so sure that you are right, when God’s three witnesses concur, that you could not be more sure though an angel beckoned you.
We often make a great mistake, thinking that God is not guiding us at all, because we cannot see far in front. But this is not His method. He only undertakes that the steps of a good man should be ordered by the Lord. Not next year, but tomorrow. Not the next mile, but the next yard. Not the whole pattern, but the next stitch in the canvas. If you expect more than this you will be disappointed."—Adapted from F B Meyer, Secret of Guidance (Fleming H. Revell, 1896), pp 5-18
VI.—We Must Wait to Hear God's Voice
“Never trust your own judgment. When your common sense is most sure of the rightness of a certain course of action, it will be best to make assurance doubly sure by lifting up your soul to God, that it may dim with his No, or glisten with his Yes. When voices within or without would hasten you to decide on the strength of your own conclusions, then be careful to refer the whole matter form the lower court of your own judgment to the supreme tribunal of God’s. If there is any doubt or hesitation left after such reference, be sure that as yet the time has not come for you to understand all God’s will. Under such circumstances-wait. There the responsibility of the pause, and all it may involve, is on God; and dare still to wait…. If you trust God absolutely, it is for him to give you clear directions as to what you should do. And when the time for action arrives, he will have given you such unmistakable indications of his will that you will not be able to mistake them or err therein. ‘None of them that wait on him shall be ashamed.’ Before entering into any alliance-taking a partner in life, going into a business with another, yielding assent to any proposition which involves confederation with others-be sure to ask counsel at the mouth of the Lord. He will assuredly answer by an irresistible impulse-by the voice of a friend; by a circumstance strange and unexpected; by a passage of Scripture. He will choose his own messenger; but he will send a message.”—From F. B. Meyer, Joshua, p. 118,119.
"Always give God time to work for you. Joshua was in too much of a hurry. Even Joshua who had been guided, and taught of the Lord, was deceived by the enemy. Therefore you cannot say that you are absolutely safe from his wiles. In times of uncertainty—wait. Always, if you have any doubt, wait. Do not force yourself to any action. If you have a restraint in your spirit, wait until all is clear, and do not go against it.
One tactic of the enemy, is to get you to hurry in your decisions, so that you fail to ‘decide’ in accordance wit the mind of God…. Refuse to be pushed to a hasty, or doubtful decision. Do not write until you are clear! But is it not very discourteous? Better to be thought discourteous than to act without the assurance of God’s will. To escape the wiles of the devil, walk in quiet, steady soberness, and suspect everything enough to make you test every step of the path hour by hour. In brief, ‘Watch and pray.’"—Jessie Penn-Lewis, The Conquest of Canaan
This work of translation she partially accomplished, though somewhat imperfectly; and the whole occurrence impressed Mr. Mueller as an indication that God was once more leading him in the direction of Germany, for another season of labour in his native land. Much prayer deepened his persuasion that he had not misread God's signal, and that His time had now fully come.
He records some of the motives which led to this conclusion.
1. First, he yearned to encourage believing brethren who for conscience' sake had felt constrained to separate themselves from the state churches, and meet for worship in such conditions as would more accord with New Testament principles, and secure greater edification.
2. Being a German himself, and therefore familiar with their language, customs, and habits of thought, he saw that he was fitted to wield a larger influence among his fellow countrymen than otherwise.
3. He was minded to publish his Narrative in his own tongue wherein he was born, not so much in the form of a mere translation, as of an independent record of his life's experiences such as would be specially suited to its new mission.
4. An effectual door was opened before him, and more widely than ever, especially at Stuttgart; and although there were many adversaries, they only made his help the more needful to those whose spiritual welfare was in peril.
5. A distinct burden was laid on his heart, as from the Lord, which prayer, instead of relieving, increased — a burden which he felt without being able to explain — so that the determination to visit his native land gave him a certain peace which he did not have when he thought of remaining at home.
To avoid mistake, with equal care he records the counter-arguments.
1. The new orphan house, No. 4, was about to be opened, and his presence was desirable if not needful.
2. A few hundred pounds were needed, to be left with his helpers, for current expenses in his absence.
3. Money was also required for traveling expenses of himself and his wife, whose health called for a change.
4. Funds would be needful to publish four thousand copies of his Narrative and avoid too high a market price.
5. A matron for the new orphan house was not yet found, suitable for the position.
In this careful weighing of matters many sincere disciples fail, prone to be impatient of delay in making decisions. Impulse too often sways, and self-willed plans betray into false and even disastrous mistakes. Life is too precious to risk one such failure. There is given us a promise of deep meaning: "The meek will He guide in judgment; And the meek will He teach His way."(Psalm 25:9.) Here is a double emphasis upon meekness as a condition of such guidance and teaching. Meekness is a real preference for God's will. Where this holy habit of mind exists, the whole being becomes so open to impression that, without any outward sign or token, there is an inward recognition and choice of the will of God. God guides, not by a visible sign, but by swaying the judgment. To wait before Him, weighing candidly in the scales every consideration for or against a proposed course, and in readiness to see which way the preponderance lies, is a frame of mind and heart in which one is fitted to be guided; and God touches the scales and makes the balance to sway as He will. But our hands must be off the scales, otherwise we need expect no interposition of His in our favour.
One sure sign of this spirit of meekness is the entire restfulness with which apparent obstacles to any proposed plan or course are regarded. Then waiting and wishing only to know and do God's will, hindrances will give no anxiety, but a sort of pleasure, as affording a new opportunity for divine interposition. If it is the Pillar of God we are following, the Red Sea will not dismay us, for it will furnish but another scene for the display of the power of Him who can make the waters to stand up as an heap, and to become a wall about us as we go through the sea on dry ground.
Mr. Mueller had learned this rare lesson, and in this case he says: "I had a secret satisfaction in the greatness of the difficulties which were in the way. So far from being cast down on account of them, they delighted my soul; for I only desired to do the will of the Lord in this matter." Here is revealed another secret of holy serving. To him who sets the Lord always before him, and to whom the will of God is his delight, there pertains a habit of soul, which in advance settles a thousand difficult and perplexing questions.—A. T. Pierson, George Mueller of Bristol, p. 91,92
"There is a way out of all these difficulties to the fully surrendered soul. I would repeat fully surrendered, because, if there is any reserve of will upon any point, it becomes almost impossible to find out the mind of God in reference to that point; and therefore the first thing is to be sure that you really do purpose to obey the Lord in every respect.
Settle this point then, first of all, and let no suggestion of doubt turn you from a steadfast faith in regard to it, that Divine guidance has been promised, and that, if you seek it, you are sure to receive it.
There are four ways in which He reveals His will to us,—through the Scriptures, through providential circumstances, through the convictions of our own higher judgment, and through the inward impressions of the Holy Spirit on our minds. Where these four harmonize, it is safe to say that God speaks. For I lay it down as a foundation principle, which no one can gainsay, that of course the "voice" of His will shall always be in harmony with itself, no matter in how many different ways He may speak. The voices may be many, the message can be but one.
The Scriptures come first. If you are in doubt upon any subject, you must, first of all, consult the Bible about it, and see whether there is any law there to direct you. Until you have found and obeyed God’s will as it is there revealed, you must not ask nor expect a separate, direct, personal revelation.
If, however, upon searching the Bible you do not find any principles that will settle your especial point of difficulty, you must then seek guidance in the other ways mentioned; and God will surely voice Himself to you, either by a conviction of your judgment, or by providential circumstances, or by a clear inward impression. In all true guidance these four voices will, as I have said, necessarily harmonize, for God cannot say in one voice that which He contradicts in another.
The third test to which our impressions must be brought is that of providential circumstances. If a "leading" is of God, the way will always open for it. It is never a sign of a Divine leading when the Christian insists on opening his own way, and riding roughshod over all opposing things.
The fourth point I would make is this, that just as our impressions must be tested, as I have shown, by the other three voices, so these other voices must be tested by our inward impressions; and if we feel a "stop" in our minds about anything, we must wait until that is removed before acting.
It sometimes happens, however, that in spite of all our efforts to discover the truth, the divine sense of "oughtness" does not seem to come, and our doubts and perplexities continue unenlightened. Our friends differ from us, and would, we know, oppose our course. In such a case there is nothing to do but to wait until the light comes. But we must wait in faith and in an attitude of entire surrender, saying a continual "yes" to the will of our Lord, let it be what it may. If the suggestion is from Him, it will continue and strengthen; if it is not from Him, it will disappear, and we shall almost forget we ever had it. If it continues, if every time we are brought into communion with the Lord it seems to return, if it troubles us in our moments of prayer and disturbs all our peace, and if finally it conforms to the test of the divine harmony of which I have spoken, we may then feel sure it is from God, and we must yield to it, or suffer an unspeakable loss."—Adapted from Hannah Whital Smith's The Secret of a Happy Christian's Life. (Fleming H. Revell: Old Tappan, NJ), pp 66-73.
"Many who profess to be Christ’s followers have an anxious, troubled heart, because they are afraid to trust themselves with God. They do not make a complete surrender to Him; for they shrink from the consequences that such a surrender may involve. Unless they do make this surrender, they cannot find peace.... Worry is blind, and cannot discern the future; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every difficulty He has His way prepared to bring relief. ‘No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.’ Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme, will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their feet."—Ellen White, Ministry of Healing, pp 480, 481
"Let students seek heavenly direction much more than they have done hitherto, and let them make no move, even though it be advised by their teachers, unless they have most humbly sought wisdom from God, and have received his guidance and counsel." Ellen White, Special Testimonies on Education, p. 125
"Too many, in planning for a brilliant future, make an utter failure. Let God plan for you. As a little child, trust to the guidance of Him who will "keep the feet of His saints." God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as coworkers with Him."—Ellen White, Ministry of Healing, p 479
"Worry is blind, and cannot discern the future, but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every difficulty He has His way prepared to bring relief. Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us, of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service and honor of God supreme will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their feet."—Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p 330
"All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us. As Christ lived the law in humanity, so we may do if we will take hold of the Strong for strength. But we are not to place the responsibility of our duty upon others, and wait for them to tell us what to do. We cannot depend for counsel upon humanity. The Lord will teach us our duty just as willingly as He will teach somebody else. If we come to Him in faith, He will speak His mysteries to us personally. Our hearts will often burn within us as One draws nigh to commune with us as He did with Enoch. Those who decide to do nothing in any line that will displease God, will know, after presenting their case before Him, just what course to pursue. And they will receive not only wisdom, but strength. Power for obedience, for service, will be imparted to them, as Christ has promised. Whatever was given to Christ--the "all things" to supply the need of fallen men--was given to Him as the head and representative of humanity. And 'whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.'" 1 John 3:22. —Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 668
"To His servants Christ commits “His goods”—something to be put to use for Him. He gives “to every man his work.” Each has his place in the eternal plan of heaven. Each is to work in co-operation with Christ for the salvation of souls. Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than is the special place designated on earth where we are to work for God."—Ellen White, Christ Object Lessons p. 326
"One great law for all who would be truly led by God's Pillar of cloud and fire, is to take no step at the bidding of self-will or without the clear moving of the heavenly Guide. Though the direction be new and the way seem beset with difficulty, there is never any risk, provided we are only led of God. Each new advance needs separate and special authority from Him, and yesterday's guidance is not sufficient for today.
It is important also to observe that, if one branch of the work is in straits, it is not necessarily a reason for abandoning another form of service. The work of God depends on Him alone. If the whole tree is His planting, we need not cut off one limb to save another. The whole body is His, and, if one member is weak, it is not necessary to cut off another to make it strong, for the strength of the whole body is the dependence of every part. In our many-branching service each must get vitality and vigour from the same source in God. Nevertheless let us not forget that the stops, as well as the steps, of a good man are ordered of the Lord. If the work is His work, let Him control it, and, whether we expand or contract, let it be at His bidding, and a matter of equal satisfaction to His servant."—A. T. Pierson, George Mueller of Bristol, p. 97
“Let every individual of you believe that the place of your present habitation, your state and occupation, is that in which God has placed you, and in which he at present wishes you to continue to serve him, and is the best adapted for your advancement in true holiness, which you must not forsake, nor even desire to forsake, without a clear knowledge of the divine will. This will compose your minds, and divest you of a thousand unnecessary scruples of injurious reflection and distraction of thought, with which the tempter might otherwise torment you. This will cause you to regard with other eyes, not only your residence, station and occupation, but also all your difficulties, disappointments, and whatever else you may meet with, receiving it as from the Lord’s hand, and bearing it much more joyfully. This will also tend much to promote love and peace amongst you.”—Gerhard Tersteegen, Life and Writings of Tersteegen, p. 215
"If men and women are in the habit of praying twice a day before they contemplate marriage, they should pray four times a day when such a step is anticipated. Marriage is something that will influence and affect your life, both in this world and in the world to come. A sincere Christian will not advance his plans in this direction without the knowledge that God approves his course. He will not want to choose for himself, but will feel that God must choose for him. We are not to please ourselves, for Christ pleased not Himself. I would not be understood to mean that anyone is to marry one whom he does not love. This would be sin. But fancy and the emotional nature must not be allowed to lead on to ruin. God requires the whole heart, the supreme affections."—Ellen White, Messages to Young People, p. 460
"Let me here add a word of Christian counsel. To enter upon the marriage union is one of the most deeply important events of life. It cannot be too prayerfully treated. Our happiness, our usefulness, our living for God or for ourselves afterwards, are often most intimately connected with our choice. Therefore, in the most prayerful manner, this choice should be made. Neither beauty, nor age, nor money, nor mental powers, should be that which prompt the decision; but 1st, Much waiting upon God for guidance should be used; 2nd, A hearty purpose, to be willing to be guided by Him should be aimed after; 3rd, True godliness without a shadow of doubt, should be the first and absolutely needful qualification, to a Christian, with regard to a companion for life. In addition to this, however, it ought to be, at the same time, calmly and patiently weighed, whether, in other respects, there is a suitableness. For instance, for an educated man to choose an entirely uneducated woman, is unwise; for however much on his part love might be willing to cover the defect, it will work very unhappily with regard to the children."—George Müller, Narratives, Vol. 3
"To our people I will say, Let none be led from the sound, sensible principles that God has laid down for the guidance of His people, to depend for direction on any such device as the tossing up of a coin. Such a course is well pleasing to the enemy of souls; for he works to control the coin, and through its agency works out his plans. Let none be so easily deceived as to place confidence in any such tests. Let none belittle their experience by resorting to cheap devices for direction in important matters connected with the work of God."—Ellen White, Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 326.
George Müller used the lots three times to make decisions. Each time was a disaster. Speaking of the last two times: "George Mueller resorted to the lot only two more times: once at a literal parting of the ways when he was led by it to take the wrong fork of the road, and afterward in a far more important matter, but with a like result: in both cases he found he had been misled, and henceforth abandoned all such chance methods of determining the mind of God. He learned two lessons, which new dealings of God more and more deeply impressed:
First, that the safe guide in every crisis is believing prayer in connection with the word of God;
Secondly, that continued uncertainty as to one's course is a reason for continued waiting.
These lessons should not be lightly passed over, for they are too valuable. The flesh is impatient of all delay, both in decision and action; hence all carnal choices are immature and premature, and all carnal courses are mistaken and unspiritual. God is often moved to delay that we may be led to pray, and even the answers to prayer are deferred that the natural and carnal spirit may be kept in check and self-will may bow before the will of God."
"I’m standing, Lord;
There is a mist that blinds my sight.
Steep, jagged rocks, front, left and right,
Lower, dim, gigantic, in the night.
Where is the way?
I’m standing, Lord;
The black rock hems me in behind,
Above my head a moaning wind
Chills and oppresses heart and mind.
I am afraid.
I’m standing, Lord;
The rock is hard beneath my feet;
I nearly slipped, Lord, on the sleet.
So weary, Lord! And where a seat?
Still must I stand?
He answered me, and on His face
A look ineffable of grace,
Of perfect, understanding love,
Which all my murmuring did remove.
I’m standing, Lord;
Since Thou hast spoken, Lord, I see
Thou has beset—these rocks are Thee!
And since Thy love encloses me, I stand and sing.
Mary Taylor, The Triumph of John and Betty Stam, Moody, 1935, p. 52,53