Many plans are in the human heart, but the advice of the Lord will endure. [Proverbs 19:21 (GW)]
A person may plan his own journey, but the Lord directs his steps. [Proverbs 16:9 (GW)]
Choices—we all have to make them. In some cases, the correct choice is easy to discern: heaven or hell, life or death, sin or salvation, adultery or faithfulness. Other choices, like American or Provolone, mustard or mayo, whole wheat or rye are unimportant and easy to make. Most decisions, however, fall somewhere in between these extremes: how to finance the house, where to worship, who to hire, what job to take, or which medical treatment to pursue. Wanting to make the best choice, we research options, consult our Bibles, pray, and wait in faith for God to tell us what to do. In spite of all that, there are still times when we can’t discern God’s will. That’s when I ask Him for a neon sign to show me His way.
When my daughter, a dancer, was selecting her college, we couldn’t determine God’s plan and fervently prayed for His guidance. Accepted by several universities, she’d visited them all. While each was good, none seemed quite right. Then the Juilliard School, after seeing her dance, sent her a letter of acceptance without her even making application. This was one option we hadn’t even considered but, since she’d been accepted, we visited New York City to see it first-hand. Once there, our daughter toured the school, spoke with teachers and attended dance classes. Although she was pleased with Juilliard’s dance program, we were hesitant about it being the best choice; this clearly wasn’t the college experience we originally had in mind. “Dear God,” I prayed, “If you’ve shown us your plan, we’ve missed the message. You need to give us a neon sign. What should she do?”
That evening, while walking along Broadway, we passed by the theatre presenting “Cats.” On the spur of the moment, we purchased tickets. Once seated, my husband looked to his left and greeted two young men. By the brightly-colored propeller-topped beanies perched on their heads, it was clear they were tourists. While chatting with them, he learned they were professional dancers visiting from Amsterdam. When asked why they were in New York, they excitedly replied, “New York is the center of the dance world. Anyone who wants to be a dancer has to spend time here!” My daughter and I looked at each other and started to laugh. We’d asked God for a neon sign, but never expected it to be two Dutch dancers with propellers on their heads! That fall, she started at Juilliard.
Did she make the right choice? Was this God’s plan? I think my daughter and I would agree it was. God guided us in a unique and delightfully whimsical manner. Now, some twenty-five years later, whenever we’re facing a dilemma and haven’t been able to discern God’s will, we remember those young men. Along with asking God for a neon sign to guide us, we’ve been known to be on the lookout for a couple of fellows sporting beanies. You never know who God’s messengers might be—He speaks in strange and marvelous ways!
Sometimes God’s ways are mysterious. Sometimes He reveals them bit by bit over long periods of time. Then sometimes they’re just plain bizarre, but immediately clear — picture-perfect. [Cindy McCormick Martinusen]