Even if You Go the Wrong Way


God guides us into His purpose and plan even when we go in the wrong direction.

I once thought God wanted me to start a Christian organization. With this ministry dream in my heart, I asked Him to provide the necessary finances to birth my vision. Within a week after praying, I unexpectedly met someone who later offered funding. I naturally thought this open door was God’s answer to my prayer. Shortly thereafter, a handful of gifted Christians agreed to join me as part of my ministry team, and a group of trusted advisors also felt I was headed in the right direction. All the details were falling into place, so it looked like God’s will. But after two years of developing an organizational plan, it became clear that this “opportunity” wasn’t God’s desire—and the whole thing fell apart.

There are many similar stories among believers. “I thought God wanted me to start a new job.” “. . . get engaged.” or “. . . move to a new city.” Have you ever prayed earnestly about something, believed He was leading you in a particular direction, only to discover that you were mistaken?

One of the most devastating things about believing that God is leading us in one direction when we later discover He isn’t, is that we can begin to doubt Him. Is He good? Does He care? And we can begin to doubt ourselves. If I thought I was headed in the right direction and I was wrong, what else have I been wrong about, and what else will I be wrong about?

Our spiritual compass can seem broken. “How can I know anything for sure? How can I fulfill God’s purpose for my life since I don’t have a clue where He is taking me?!”

First, be encouraged. There will be times you will feel like you “miss it.” This is normal. You will think God is pointing you to a particular purpose or plan, but you will be mistaken. It’s okay. During this time of confusion and disappointment, you must remember who God says He is in Scripture. The Bible is your faithful compass regardless of what you think He is doing.

Second, you can breathe a sigh of relief because the ultimate direction of your life and His plan and purpose for you is not dependent on you. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart, a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” God knows you will make mistakes as you seek to follow His lead, but He is sovereign. Following Him is not like walking on a tightrope.

I have been journaling for over 25 years. One of the things I love most about scribbling words on a page is reading them years later. It’s then that I can clearly see God’s sovereign rule in my rearview mirror. My old journal entries always help me see this even if I thought God was taking me down a particular path; although I was wrong, it didn’t stop His good plan for me.

I love Isaiah 42:16 which says, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them.” Do you feel blind? God will guide you into His purpose and plan. Be encouraged. No matter what you have perceived about how God is leading you, and even if you go the wrong way, God is still God. And He’ll still get you where He wants you to go.

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