One of our difficulties in receiving things from the Lord
is that we often attempt to come to Him with our own program
and timetable. But it is impossible to limit the seeking of
God to a fixed pattern. What makes things still more difficult
both for ourselves and for God is our mistaken use of Scripture
to prove our point.
For instance, we might think that if we fast for four days
as Cornelius did, we too shall be favored with the appearance
of an angel; or because Daniel mourned twenty-one days and
ate no pleasant food until he received an answer, we shall
accomplish spectacular results by means of a semi-fast for
Merely copying patterns is wrong. The Lord uses Scripture
to guide us in particular cases. That is another matter. But
to arbitrarily select such as our own pattern will not work,
for the underlying condition of faith is missing and the motivation
is not the same.
There is also the matter of God’s purposes to be considered,
which is contingent upon our individuality. As is said in
John 21:22, “. . . what is that to thee, follow thou
This means a personal walk by means of personal guidance,
by a personal God. Naaman the leper had a preconceived plan
as to how God was going to meet him. When God wanted to heal
him in an unorthodox manner he “was wroth and went away
and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me,
and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike
his hand over the place, and recover the leper” (II
kings 5:11). Naaman would have remained a leper had he not
accepted God’s own method, however humiliating it was
and however strange it must have seemed to him.
Just as soon as we think we have found the groove in the
way God works and begin to settle there, in self-complacency,
in the mistaken belief that God is going to continue the same
thing in the same way, we shall discover that this is not
His groove, but our rut. Unless we are ready to follow Him
along other paths, discovering His mercies are new every morning,
we might become buried in this rut.
It is delightful to learn the ways of the Lord, but our greatest
delight is to learn that His ways are past finding out, “O,
the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge
of God . . .” (Romans 11:33).