If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you
and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
-- Exodus 33:13
Are you one of those people who hates to ask for directions when they're lost? Douglas Corrigan was. And his stubbornness would briefly make him the world's most famous man.
Born in 1907 in Galveston, Texas, Corrigan was a skilled mechanic and pilot who helped build the Spirit of St. Louis--Charles Lindbergh's famous airplane that crossed the Atlantic in 1927. Corrigan dreamed of one day repeating the hero aviator's remarkable feat. But time after time, the federal government refused to certify his modified aircraft for transatlantic flight. Corrigan would get his chance 11 years later.
Frustrated by the government's red tape, Corrigan apparently gave up and submitted his official flight plans to return home to California. His plane left the New York runway at night in thick fog--and with (allegedly) a malfunctioning compass. Nearly 30 hours later, the stubborn Texan landed in Dublin, Ireland: halfway around the world from his intended destination. Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan became an instant celebrity and received a New York City ticker tape parade that was bigger than Lindbergh's!
Maybe we're all like Wrong Way Corrigan when it comes to navigating our personal life journey. Our compass tends to malfunction and we can easily lose sight of our goals and destination. We're confused about which college to attend, which spouse to marry and which job to take. These are no doubt legitimate questions. Making poor choices can indeed set our life off course.
Discerning God's will is the best way to put us back on track. But how? Let's first look at what NOT to do. Society tells us to follow our hearts and "be true to ourselves." But that's in direct opposition to God's word in the Bible because we're first to be true to Him. "Who can understand the human heart?" we read in Jeremiah. "There is nothing else so deceitful; it is too sick to be healed."
Let's now consider Jesus' example as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest and execution. Christ had a big decision to make. And He asked God if there might be some other way to achieve the eternal plan that had been set in motion at the foundation of the world. "Father, if it is possible, don't let this happen to me!" Jesus petitioned as He literally sweated blood. "Father, you can do anything. Don't make me suffer by having me drink from this cup. But do what you want, and not what I want."
The clear lesson is that surrendering completely to God's will is our first step to knowing it.
When we do, God's answer can be eye-opening. But it will never contradict His message in the Bible. And don't be surprised if He responds through an opportunity or situation that has never before occurred to you. Our ways--God says--are not His ways. And His thoughts are not our own.
What's our next move? Let's remember the words of Proverbs 19:21.
"Many are the plans in a person's heart," we read. "But it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."