“I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O LORD, but in justice; not in your anger, lets you bring me to nothing." Jeremiah 10:23-24
Regardless of how my calendar counts the months, September always feels like the beginning. My guess is that I’ve been conditioned to think that because of all the years of starting school this month. The irregular and sometimes disjointed nature of the summertime with trips, vacations, and others away lends to this sense of September as a beginning as well.
I always have high hopes that I will get a lot of planning and things arranged during the summer months for family and church. But often I find myself not quite ready as September rolls around. There have been years that I have had things together though. Times where I actually carved out sufficient time to plan ahead. Yet, even in those times I still feel anxious in the beginning and as the year unfolds there is still a sense that this is not what I thought it would be.
Jeremiah the prophet explains this phenomenon. We have this experience because of this fact: we are not in control, God alone is! “The way of man is not in himself.” I naturally think, and this gets reinforced by society around me, that I can plan, manage, and direct my life toward success. This thinking puts a lot of stress on us. But this simply is not true. “It is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” It is God who directs our steps. Solomon says the same thing: “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
As we face the anxiety and stress of this month, let us abide by the wisdom that Jeremiah gives: “Correct me, O LORD, but in justice.” Let us humble ourselves before God by asking Him to direct our paths. By trusting that He is good and will do what is right. And knowing that He is for us because He has sent His Son Jesus to die that He might forgive us of all the times we walk the wrong way.
September is not ours, it is the Lord’s. May He guide us by His gracious hand!