Trying to Figure Out God’s Odd Leading in Your Life

Christmas shows us God’s leading proves wiser than our impatient pleas for progress.

God’s leading and timing in our lives often don’t make sense. We know that almost 2,000 years ago Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem. But we forget that approximately 2,040 years before they did, Jacob and Rachel, another expectant couple, traveled south along the same road.

God's Unusual Leading in Your Life

(Photo: Anton Raphael Mengs. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Rachel gave birth to Benjamin, but died soon after delivery, and Jacob buried her near Bethlehem (Gen. 35:19). Rachel’s death foreshadowed the devastation that the territory of Benjamin would suffer in Jeremiah’s time:

Rachel is weeping for her children . . . Because they are no more. —Jeremiah 31:15

Yet the prophecy found its final fulfillment in Jesus’ day, when Herod the Great slaughtered all baby boys in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:17-18). So, at God’s direction, Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus to live until Herod’s death.

Each movement of Jesus’ family finds its cause in God’s revelation to Joseph:

  • Fleeing Bethlehem to Egypt
  • Returning from Egypt to Israel
  • Avoiding Judea to settle in Galilee

God’s purposes for these moves lay first in the protection of His Son, but Matthew notes that each directive also fulfilled Scripture. I doubt anyone but God saw beforehand the murky prophecies fulfilled by these geographic moves. But in hindsight, they become clear.

God’s leading and timing in our lives often don’t make sense either.  At least at first.

God’s Odd Leading

We want to follow God, but we often don’t see Him leading.

  • For years we pray for a loved one’s health, for a friend’s salvation, or for a missionary to receive funds.
  • We plug away endlessly at a miserable job with no promotion.
  • We ask God for help, but He doesn’t answer our prayers.

Yet when we look back in hindsight, we actually come to appreciate how God led us—and all the victories and failures along the way—to prepare us for something we felt ready for much earlier.

God’s Odd Plans for Your Year

As we anticipate next year with all its uncertainties, we can take comfort that our God sees the future as clearly as the past. We will discover that in our simple obedience to God’s Word, He has guided us along paths far too complex for us to see at the time.

Eventually, His leading and His timing become clear.

Jacob Jordaens the elder (Flemish, 1593-1678). 'Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt,' 1647. oil on canvas. Walters Art Museum (37.2368): Museum purchase, 1954.

(Photo: Jacob Jordaens. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

We never see Joseph questioning God’s odd leading, though he couldn’t have possibly understood it all. But what Joseph did understand offers us a great model. The Lord leads us with His wise—but often unusual—directives, always rooted in Scripture, for our good and for His glory.

Time and again, God’s odd leading proves wiser than our impatient pleas for progress. Consider, would He not receive more glory from our lives if we trusted Him along the path of the unknown than if we saw His purposes from the start?

Tell me what you think: What are you trusting God for this year? To leave a comment, just click here.

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