This is college football country, so I feel free to ask this question. How do you feel when an offensive coordinator scripts all of his offense’s plays for the first series or quarter of the game? Most of us are Monday morning quarterbacks, so if you were the coach, would decide every proceeding play before the game started?
I recently spoke with a friend who was left with mostly bad options. It was difficult to counsel him. Most of us- myself included, prefer a clear and precise plan. Like a offensive coordinator, we like to script the plays, imagining that each will work out just like we anticipated. But unfortunately life doesn't work that way. Because of our choices and the choices of others, life requires many game time decisions and half time adjustments.
But what do you do, when you don’t know what to do? Another saying we have in the fellows ministry is “ Do the next right thing.” Almost without fail, when we say this the emphasis is always on the word next.
Yet a clear aspect of our humanity is our nearsightedness. Figuratively speaking, we can't see past our noses and never have any idea of what’s around the corner. And sometimes like my friend, even when you can anticipate the life coming down the pike, we’re only left with less than stellar options. All you can do is the next right thing.
A friend just lost her husband and there is no way to prepare completely for the season to come. Today all she can do is the next right thing.
Another person I know is trying to save his marriage. He’s praying for the silver bullet solution that would fix everything, but today all he can do is the next right thing.
Another friend is navigating the waters of a corporate merger. Its not that he doesn't like the new organization. It's just different and a significant adjustment. Most days he shows up at work, not certain how to best do his job. Today all he can do is the next right thing.
As the fellow’s year progresses, the fellows will find themselves investing a great deal of time and emotional energy in trying to figure out life after their fellow's year. Like of all us they will be faced with a web of interconnected decisions and they often feel overwhelmed and overrun my infinite contingencies. They will find themselves having to do the next right thing.
One of the many differences between us and the Lord is that he has no “nexts.” He lives outside of time and space and sees all of eternity with simultaneous, crystal clarity. He doesn’t wait nor make adjustments based on the latest intel. He sovereignly and simply... sees.
And thus we are left as those who “see in a mirror dimly” to trust and entrust ourselves to the One
who sees; who knows us and who cares. Just as Christ in his humanity, anticipated yet not knowing fully what the next day of his crucifixion would bring, entrusted himself to the Father, we too by faith trust the Lord by doing the next right thing.