Did you know that a clock that is five minutes off is more dangerous than one that is five hours off? Think about it. If a clock is five hours off, you will see that it is obviously wrong and not use it to tell the time. But a clock that is just five minutes off will fool you, and the deception can cause you to burn a meal, miss an important appointment, or be late to pick up your child (and, oh, the trouble that a kid can get into in five minutes!).
This same idea also holds true for God’s will for your life. Oftentimes the most dangerous alternative to that will is not the one that is five hours off but the one that is five minutes off. For example, let’s say that it’s God’s will for a newlywed couple to buy a specific house, but the couple insists on looking at two other houses as well. One of those other houses is everything they ever wanted in a home, but it’s price is so far beyond their budget that it’s obvious they can’t afford it. So when they look at the house, there is a lot of oohing and aahing, but that’s as far as things go. They understand the house is a pipe dream for them.
But the second alternative house is one they can afford. It’s about the same size and style as the house that God wants them to buy and the prices are comparable too. Really, the main difference lies in the neighborhoods of the two houses. You see, what the couple doesn’t know is that the house that God wants them to buy sits in a neighborhood that features godly neighbors, solid churches, and schools with teachers that will better reach the two children that God knows is in the couple’s future. While the neighborhood for the other house is respectable enough itself, it simply isn’t as good a fit for the young couple and the plans that God has in mind for them.
But the question is, which of the two alternative houses offers the greatest temptation for the couple to miss God’s will in house-buying? It’s the one that is the most like the house that God wants them to buy. That alternative is just five minutes off while the other one is five hours off. It isn’t hard to discern the problems with a clock that is five hours off, but it is very hard to do so with one that is five minutes off.
Keep this in mind whenever you find yourself trying to discern God’s will regarding multiple opportunities. Very few people step out of God’s will by chasing opportunities that are hopelessly far-fetched, but many people step out of it to chase those that are very doable. It’s the difference between driving a Ford or a Dodge, between attending one in-state school or another, or between working in an office building on 1st Avenue or one on 2nd Avenue. But God knows that just that little bit of difference can make all the difference in the world.