‘In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.’ (v9) Proverbs 16:1–11

To step is to take an action that leads to a result. God is interested in securing our safe encounter with Him. As we consider the many opportunities before us and the decisions we might take, we can never know what the results might be. We marry full of hope and anticipation, only to lose our partner suddenly to an unexpected illness. The child we longed for dies at birth and all our plans for our baby vanish.

Life often proves testing. We cannot find reasons for the tragedies we encounter. Unrealised dreams turn to ashes and our hearts may grow bitter. The very purpose for our lives can die with these dreams and we continue our life journey an empty shell, unable or unwilling to dream again.

At such times, God can appear both distant and uncaring. We desperately need to lay responsibility for our pain somewhere, and an all-powerful God who failed to intervene on our behalf appears fair game. Yet, what have we left once we have turned our back on God? We are alone, and no more capable of addressing our pain or explaining our circumstances.

Somewhere within that broken dream an ember of God’s love and purpose still glows. Have we the courage to carry it in the hope it might once again relight the fire that once inspired our life? Can we ever recover hope from the wreckage that all too often litters our life experience?

RELATED SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Psa. 69; 142; Isa. 40:27–31; Matt. 11:25–30; 19:24–30.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Can you find the courage to carry the embers of hope when your plans literally collapse around you?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, save me, ‘for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold’. Amen.’ (Psa. 69:1–2)

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Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.