“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” –ESV
“Teach us how short our lives really are so that we may be wise.” –NLT
“Oh! Teach us to live well!
Teach us to live wisely and well!”– MSG
Psalm 90:12, three different translations
Growing up we must learn different things.
We’re taught the alphabet, how to brush our teeth and use deodorant. We need to be educated, or tutored into many different skills. Our teachers direct and guide us, they provide for us an understanding of the skills we need to acquire. As we advance through their instruction, we grow in proficiency.
The Psalmist comes to the realization that he needs to develop a particular skill. He desperately wants to craft his life to be honorable and obedient. He turns to God and seeks His aid. The psalmist seeks a ‘teacher’ who will instruct him.
Our own lives are often chaotic and foolish.
We live in a great deal of ignorance, strained relationships and bad decisions. Most definitely we are ‘saved by faith,’ but the course of our lives can still be difficult. There is much to be learned in the spiritual world. We’ll make many mistakes.
The author of Psalm 90 doesn’t want to continue doing stupid things. He has a need, and he is pretty adamant that God will help him. Part of what he understands is that he needs to get ahold of the reality of the ‘shortness’ of his life. That’s a good start.
He must understand that he has a limited lifespan–an expiration date.
He refuses the deception that life will just always continue unfolding. He doesn’t buy it. He counts on God to pace him, and to keep him from recklessly wasting his life. He is asking for restraints. He must learn to say “no” and say “yes” to many things.
I encourage you to consciously make this step. Be deliberate in this. If we lack wisdom, we need to ask Him for it. Apart from His presence, our lives grow increasingly irrational. Living without restraints will lead us into more foolishness and despair. We must learn to say “no.”
“Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:16, ESV
“Life here feels like you were just left off here one day, with no instruction manual, and no idea of what you were supposed to do; how to fit in; how to find a day’s relief from the anxiety, how to keep your beloved alive; how to stay one step ahead of abyss.”
The reality is this– so much happens to us that we’re not in control of. There are some deluded souls who think they have it by the handle; that they have life completely figured out. But not me. Much of my life has been a challenge, and at times wonder if I’m still on the path. I’ve followed Jesus for 40 years now, and I’m always challenged by what’s around the next corner!
Life comes at us so dang fast, and it’s never linear or methodical, there are bumps and curves that must be navigated. The road is often a drudgery. And yet at other times it’s like we’re trying to take a drink from a fire hose. Things come at us so furiously fast, it races at us relentlessly. We can’t keep up anymore.
I believe that the Bible– God’s tried and true promises have impressive, supernatural power. Not in a magical way though; but rather it becomes a guide for me when all other ‘influences’ fail and falter. It alone tells me what is true. What I have internalized within is now my compass and guide. It can be trusted when everything seems wrong. The Holy Spirit uses those divine promises that I have collected over the years.
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path.”
I live for, and love, the guidance He gives. There is so much adventure to it all. To be in harmony with Him (and His Will) is a wonderful thing. I honestly don’t pretend that I’m walking this road alone, and I’m definitely not lost in some weird maze. Instead I’m seeking out the wisdom of my brothers that have journeyed the road ahead of me. And I especially want to follow my Companion. He deeply loves me, and He fully intends to lead me home! (John 17:12, NIV)
“Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
leaning on her beloved?”
(Song of Solomon 8:5)
He is with you in these terribly difficult places. He makes the crooked straight.
Being mentally or physically disabled isn’t easy, but who says it should be? (You do adapt, I know.) Whatever wilderness we find ourselves in is punctuated by His presence. He is there, and He can be leaned on. Granted, there are no quick fixes; there is only His strong presence. He’s your beloved that is holding on to you as you travel this hard wilderness.
These are rough notes I just compiled. They seem to be the different ways God guides the broken believer into His purposes and into His Will. I simply hope you’ll be able to extrapolate off them to find a personal direction. These have worked for me for over 30 years of following the Lord Jesus Christ.
“I will lead the blind by a way they do not know,
In paths they do not know I will guide them.
I will make darkness into light before them
And rugged places into plains.
These are the things I will do,
And I will not leave them undone.”
Isaiah 42:16, NASB
I want to lay out some practical ideas for those who desire to hear God. The following are principles to be considered.
A Rascal’s List of Guidance
- Discipline, Hebrew 12:5-11, the “woodshed.”
- Wisdom (a.k.a., yours and other people’s mistakes) Ps. 73:24
- The Word, logos and rhema— corporate, and personal understanding, Isa. 30:21
- Counselors, and advice– Luke 14:31
- Supernatural means, dreams or prophecy seen many times in scripture
- Peace, joy and brokenness, humility— Ps. 25:9
- With His eyes on us, God’s attentiveness to our path
- The church, and its pastors and elders. Jeremiah 3:15
- Opposing counsel from a respected leader helps you count the cost, Agabus in Acts 21
- Family, close friends, relationships (can be secular)
- Duty and loyalty, a requirement for future insight, also faithful in little things
- Quietness and alertness, through prayer/worship. Wait, and wait some more.
- Circumstances, positive or negative, Ps. 32:8
- Testing, temptation– toward godliness always
- Greater servanthood to be had– which way makes me serve in a greater way?
- To give a future and a hope always, Jer. 29:11
- The Book of Proverbs (31 chapters in 31 days is no coincidence)
- Travel, seeing needs of others, and discerning real needs of overseas work
- God’s very nature is to reveal (and He knows your inadequacies)
- Away from error, especially religious cults or the occult, horoscopes, etc.
- God’s glory and for His honor only, Ps. 43:3
In discerning the will of God, you should line up as many as possible— not just one, but several. He sees your eager heart, and He will make things clear. Remember, you must proceed in faith, (Hebrews 11:1, 6), “for we walk by faith, not by sight,” 2 Cor. 5:7.
Any deficiencies or short-comings of this list are exclusively my own. I’m certain you can make your own list and a better version. Feel free to distribute or use as you see fit. “Eat the meat, and spit out the bones.” Remember this verse: “It is God’s privilege to conceal things, and the king’s privilege to discover them.” Proverbs 25:2, NLT.