"This is what the Lord says: When people fall down, don't they get up again? When they start down the wrong road and discover their mistake, don't they turn back?"
- Jeremiah 8:4 NLT
A few months ago, our female pet duck, Daisy, began laying eggs. Since we don't have a farm, my husband, Joe, and I knew that it would be unwise to let Daisy hatch a bunch of ducklings. So we decided to begin taking away her eggs as soon as she laid them. After doing this for many weeks, without seeing Daisy's production slow down one bit, we spoke to our neighbor about the problem, and he suggested that we begin leaving her eggs in her nest. He told us that he grew up on a farm, and that this was the method his family used to stop their ducks from laying. All this time, I was seeking the Lord in prayer, asking Him to guide us and to help us do what was wise and pleasing in His sight. My husband and I decided to take our neighbor's advice, and we began leaving Daisy's eggs on her nest. It turned out to be a big mistake. After several weeks, Daisy had laid dozens of eggs, and she began sitting on them to hatch them. After turning to the Lord for more guidance and help, Joe and I decided to take Daisy's eggs from her nest. As difficult as that would be for her, it would be much kinder than letting her have her ducklings, and then giving them away. As I listened to Daisy's cries as she searched in vain for her lost eggs, my heart broke, and all I kept thinking was--"If only I hadn't listened to my neighbor!"
As I shared my regrets and sorrow over my mistakes with my son's wife, Miriam, she said something to me that gave me great comfort and hope. She said that sometimes we have to try the wrong thing before we can know for certain what the right thing is. That really spoke to my heart, and I knew that she was right. I've always said that after we've sought the Lord in prayer for His wisdom and guidance, sooner or later we need to "step out and find out" what His will for us is. There is certainly great value in waiting upon God for specific direction in a matter. But I have found that many times, we won't be able to have "all our ducks in a row" before the Lord expects us to make a move.
I've been a parent for more than 30 years now. There have been many times when I didn't discover the proper way to deal with my children until I first made some mistakes. Even when I earnestly sought the Lord for His direction, He allowed me to make some mistakes--even serious ones--before I found the right way to deal with certain situations as a parent. The same is true of some of the health problems I've had in the past. There have been times when I didn't discover the proper remedies for my ailments until I tried the wrong ones. It can be especially frustrating when we feel like we've done our best to hear from God, and we still make costly errors. What can we do in cases like these? We can resist feeling sorry for ourselves or assigning blame, and we can refuse to give up hope. We can turn to the Lord yet again, and ask Him to use our mistakes to give us a new and more accurate sense of direction. I've seen Him do this time after time, even in situations that I feared were hopeless.
I'm happy to report that Daisy is back to her old self again. And my husband and I now know what NOT to do to try to keep her egg laying under control. My prayer for you today is that you won't allow your fear of making mistakes to keep you from stepping out in faith when God leads you to. Instead, seek the Lord with all your heart, trusting that He will use your wrongs to give you a new and clearer perspective of what's RIGHT!
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to turn to You daily for wisdom and guidance in everything. Strengthen my faith so that I won't be so afraid of making mistakes that I'll fail to step out at Your direction. When I do make a mistake, use it to give me a clearer view of what's right. Thank You for making all my crooked paths straight and all my rough ways smooth! (Luke 3:5)
- J. M. Farro