My husband does a great job of using mealtimes to teach our kids. Usually it’s something about space or math, but he also likes to teach them some history. Today at lunch it was both. He was talking to them about astronomy and was explaining the North star and how useful it was for sailors to have a star that was so constant that they could navigate by it. This is where the discussion turned to Columbus. It got me thinking about and reading a little about Columbus.
Columbus felt guided and driven to find a new course to India. He knew he had to keep persevering through his trials and that God was helping him in his quest.
But wait, he never did find a new route to Asia.
I still believe that he was inspired and guided by God. It was the time for the New World to be discovered. Columbus didn’t know what his mission was. He thought he knew. He believed in it to the core. He followed the path that he believed would take him to his goal. How could it not take him to his goal when he felt Gods inspiration in his work?
That’s the thing about how God works. He really doesn’t like to lay things out for us. He rarely lets us know beforehand what He has in store. We try to figure it out, oh how we want to know. Sometimes we spend a lot of energy trying to divine the future or asking why.
Sometimes we pursue a path, feeling inspired, and led, we think we have God all figured out. Then later we realize that he was actually leading us somewhere entirely different.
As a parent we can sometimes see a little of what God must be doing with us. Sometimes with a child I will offer a reward for a certain behavior. For instance when potty training, I may offer a candy if the child will stay dry and use the potty once. All they can think about is the next candy. One day it all clicks and suddenly they realize that they don’t need to be tied to diapers. Pretty soon they lose focus on that candy and, though the love for candy hasn’t diminished any, they have caught on to the larger goal. There may even be a higher goal they don’t ever think about, such as the chance to attend pre-school or dance class.
We are all children to God and he may know that even if he tries to explain his purposes we wouldn’t understand. I know that sometimes I come up with my own answers and I may get so stuck on them that I’m not open to hearing about God’s answers.
At this point you may be expecting me to say that the lesson is to just go with the flow and not try to figure out the ending, but that is not human. God also gave us a strong desire to figure things out. We will never stop reaching, and questioning. Whatever we think we know, whatever goal we believe we are meant to achieve, I have a feeling God has something much bigger in mind for us. Don’t get me wrong, our goals are important even if we misunderstand them. To find a righteous purpose and work towards it gives us something we all need, motivation and fulfillment. We may find that in aiming for one goal we reach another. If we are checking in with God along the way, and keep him as the North Star in our life, we won’t lose our way even if we don’t know where we are going.