From “The Way”
by Jones E. Stanley, 1884-1973
We come now to the question of guidance. The Way is the way of the God-guided life.
Usually, men are guided by one or more of these things:
(I) By what others do.
(2) By chance happenings.
(3) By superstitious’ beliefs.
(4) By impulses.
(5) Sometimes by conscience.
(6) Occasionally by God.
But the one who is on the Way is on the way to God. God has direction of his life.
How does God guide?
Obviously, God must guide us in a way that will develop spontaneity in us. The development of character, rather than direction in this, that and the other matter, must be the primary purpose of the Father. He will guide us, but he won’t override us. That fact should make us use with caution the method of sitting down with a pencil and a blank sheet of paper to write down the instructions dictated by God for the day. Suppose a parent would dictate to the child minutely everything he is to do during the day. The child would be stunted under that regime. The parent must guide in such a manner, and to the degree, that autonomous character, capable of making right decisions for itself, is produced. God does the same.
When our daughter was married, I wrote her: “I hope I shall never be in the way and never out of the way.”
I would be there when needed.
And yet, having said that, I hasten to add that the guidance of God is more intimate than God standing by in case of need. It is willing co-operation. God gives us autonomy and then we deliberately choose to cooperate with him on the basis that he is the managing director. He has the first, middle and last word and we are glad to have it so. For his will is our highest interest.
“Thy hands made and moulded me, to understand thine orders.” (Ps. 119:73, Moffatt.)
We are inwardly made to “understand” and to do the “orders” of God. And when we do them, we are free; free because fulfilled. Guidance then is guidance into our highest development and achievement. It is also guidance into liberty, for when we do the will of God, we are free. The will of God is always our will at its best.