The Most Helpful Thing I’ve Ever Read About God’s Guidance
About four years ago I read through volume 2 of Iain Murray’s biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It’s an 862 page book. But page 177 jumped off the paper and into my chest, forever marking me. The whole book is worth buying just for this page. I’ve not followed this counsel exactly, and it must be nuanced for different contexts and personalities, but it remains deeply helpful.
This comes from a letter that MLJ wrote to his daughter Elizabeth on 5-17-1948 as she was questioning God’s call on her life. Here it is:
The one vital, all-important thing is to know the will of God. It is not as easy as it sometimes sounds. I was for over two years in a state of uncertainty and indecision before leaving medicine for the pulpit. But in the end it was made absolutely and perfectly clear and mainly by means of things which God did.
These are the rules which I would advise you to observe:
1. Never speak to anyone about it. Don’t tell people what you are feeling and discuss it and ask for advice. That always leads to still more uncertainty and confusion. Make an absolute rule of this at all costs. Say nothing until you are absolutely certain, because we are all subject to self suggestion.
2. Do not even think about it and discuss the pros and cons with yourself. Once more this leads to auto suggestion and confusion.
3. In meetings, etc., do not start with the thought in your mind, ‘I wonder whether this is going to throw light on my question or help in any way?’
4. In other words, you must not try to anticipate God’s leading. Believing as I do that God does ‘call’ very definitely, and in a distinct and definite doctrine of a call, and a vocation is distinct from the ‘need is the call’ idea, I believe that God will always make His will and His way plain and clear. With reverence, therefore, I say leave it to God entirely as regards purpose, time and all else.
All you have to do is to tell God that you are content to do His will whatever it may be and, more, that you will rejoice to do His will. Surrender yourself, your life, your future entirely to Him and leave it at that… You must not go on asking God to show you His way. Leave it to Him and refuse to consider it until He makes it impossible for you not to do so.
Also remember, and especially in an atmosphere like OICCU and IVF which tends to be activist and to place such emphasis on works, that ‘to be’ comes before ‘to do’. That is where we all fail. Our business is to make ourselves such instruments as shall be fit and meet for the Master’s use. He always tells such people how and where and when He wants to use them. You prepare yourself and He will then show you what He wants you to do.
Here’s a pdf of what I’ve posted above: MLJ-Guidance