A few days ago while working I was moving about feverishly attempting to print stickers for a mapping project. I placed the sticker paper in our copier and I opened the file by which I desired to print. I made the attempt and the icons printed slightly off of the actual sticker. I did the same thing again. My level of frustration began to emerge. A couple of students were nearby and took a look at what I was attempting. One of them noticed my disgust and said, “What are you trying to do?” I responded, “Print these icons on the sticker paper so that they may individually peel off.” He responded, “Did you follow the directions?” I said, “Well no, but it’s obvious that the person who said these were formatted was incorrect in their assumption.” I hurried back to my office. I opened the site to which I downloaded the document and realized that it read, “For best results, please print via adobe.” This time I chose that option, moved quickly to the printer and noticed a stark difference from my previous attempts. It worked! My student noticed my expression. He said, “Did it work?” I responded, “Yes.” He smiled and asked, “Why?” I responded, ‘Because I followed the directions. We both smiled.
Simple, right? Follow the directions because someone has gone before you and attempted what you are trying. Through trial and error, they’ve determined the most viable option for optimal utility. You and I may benefit from their example and be blessed in the process. Yet what happens when we’ve followed the directions and things don’t turn out in the manner by which we’d expected, we’d hoped? Does God take things on a case by case basis or is He a holistic God? When the Word of God speaks of obedience, it doesn’t do so in a cherry picking manner. John 14:21 affirms, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” So then our obedience is unto God and not to a person, place or thing. If in fact we are following directions from God, all else will align. Romans 8:28 provides evidence to those like myself who get discouraged for attempting to as Spike said, “do the right thing,” amongst those who elect otherwise, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
His purpose is not always revealed to us. His purpose is not always understood by us. His purpose is not always accepted nor preferred by us. Yet His purpose shall and will go forth in the earth. God is sovereign and follows the directions He created. His Word will not go out and return unto Him void, but it shall accomplish the purpose by which it was sent (Isaiah 55:11). When we follow directions, we are fulfilling the purpose that God intended. The fallout, the recourse, the response is for God to handle, not we ourselves. Is this a difficult pill to swallow? Perhaps. Would we prefer otherwise? Perhaps. Yet do we trust ourselves or God? It’s just that simple. I don’t trust myself to remember to do what I got out of my chair and traveled upstairs to secure. But the lover of my soul, the one who knows how many hairs I have on my head, the one who knew me in my mother’s womb, has all the directions for my life. He has meticulously arranged every issue, every person, every circumstance, every blessing, every trial, every tribulation, for His glory. The most adamant direction is to praise Him through it all! And when I follow that direction, the difficulties may not immediately alter, but they become easier to manage, and in time, just like the stickers, everything will align.