Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Following God's Will

It’s hard, but it doesn’t have to be.

I don’t like it when teenagers claim to know everything about everything, but I think if you’ve experienced something or in the midst of a situation, you should write about no matter what age you are.

One of the things I and my family have been struggling with is learning how to take the next step. Wouldn’t it be nice if God appeared every 6 months and said “Hey guys, this is where you’re moving in less than 3 months. Mary, you’re going to go to this college and into this field, which I promise you that you’ll love and it’ll be very profitable in many ways for many years to come. I’m going to warn you about a few things, but it’ll all be okay…”

Actually, He does sort of say that:

“…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you
and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call
upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and
find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares
the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity….”

-Jeremiah 29:11-14b

We know where we are now, and God tells us where we’ll end up. It’s the middle, the specifics, that are scary. The what’s-going-to-happen next factor. The suspense. The fact that you could be killed in a car accident tomorrow. It’s the fact that you’re in the dark, feeling your way through. Yeah, you know the dark hallway is straight, so why not walk straight? Because something might be in the way.

It all boils down to trust.

You’re not in control of the situation, God is. Remember that job offer last year? You applied to 20 places and didn’t hear back from any of them, but then your friend’s uncle had an opening in his business and hired you. All those applications and resumes had nothing to do with the outcome. Remember when your relative had a serious health issue? You sent him all the get well cards and flowers that money could buy, and you prayed so hard and long and urged your friends to do the same. Yet, his fate is not in your hands. God decides everything, and even if someone’s chances are against the odds, He can (and has) perform miracles.

Bad things do happen, but God doesn’t suddenly sit up in his chair and ask, “How did that happen? I just look out the window for one second…”

No, He knows the outcome and how it all fits together for His plan. Even if, along the way, something horrific were to happen, He would be there grieving with you. But he always has something bigger planned.

I’m going to use a relatively minor issue for an example: my driving test next month. God knows if I’m going to pass or not. If I do, great. If I don’t, then there’s obviously some reason I’m not supposed to get it. Do I know why? No. Do I need to know why? Of course not.

Using another relatively minor example: it’s the same thing with my book. So many times I’ve printed out the first three pages of a story and gave them to my mom to critique. But then the story isn’t my secret anymore. I lose steam, and start another project. Repeat. So far, my novel is 80,000+ words, and no one has read a single sentence.

But I’m sure there are other reasons than being “secretive” that andwhy God doesn’t want us to know His plan. We have to trust Him, and it’s when we trust Him that our faith grows stronger.

Ah, maybe this is just me putting Chapters 15 and 16 of Dr. James Dobson’s Life on the Edge into my own words. I’m just applying it to my life, I guess.

One more Bible verse:

“What we’ve learned is this: God does not respod to what we do; we respond to
what God does. We’ve finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and
all others by leting him set the pace, not by proudly or anciously trying to run
the parade.

-Romans 3:27b-28 (The Message, Eugene Peterson)
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