O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.–Jeremiah 10:23
We are not nearly as smart as we think we are. The wisest among us are in constant need of God’s guidance. Were we totally in charge of every detail of our life you can rest assured that we would make a mess of things. We don’t always know what is best for ourselves. J. R. Miller wrote:
We often think we could do better if we were directing the affairs of our own lives. We think we could get more happiness and greater good out of life—if things were in our hands. We would at once eliminate all that is painful and unpleasant in our lot. We would have only prosperities, with no adversities; only joys, with no sorrows. We would exclude all pain and trouble from our life. Our days would all be sunny, with blue skies—and no clouds or storms. Our paths would all be soft and easy, and strewn with flowers—without thorns or any rough places. Would we not be happier—if we could direct our own affairs, and leave out the painful, the bitter, the adverse, and the sorrowful?
So most of us would probably say at first, before we have thought of the question deeply and looked on to the end. But really the greatest misfortune that could come to us in this world—would be to have the direction of the affairs, and the shaping of the experiences of our lives, put into our own hands!
We have no wisdom to know what is best for ourselves. Today is not all of life—there is a long future, perhaps many years in this world, and then immortality hereafter. What would give us greatest pleasure today—might work us harm in days to come. Present gratification might cost us untold loss and hurt in the future.
We want pleasure, plenty, and prosperity—but perhaps we need pain, self-denial, and the giving up of things that we greatly prize.
We shrink from suffering, from sacrifice, from struggle—but perhaps these are the very experiences which will do the most good for us, which will best mature our Christian graces, which will fit us for the largest service to God and man.