Do you remember when you were little and you had all these plans and dreams for your life? You just knew for sure that your life was going to turn out exactly like you want.
You grow up and you are praying that God will have His way with your life and His will be done.
That’s about the time, if you are sincere in your prayers, that all your plans blow up in your face. At least that has been my experience.
I had all kinds of plans. I just knew how my life was going to go. But let me assure you God had completely different plans!
Now this is about the time that I began to ask “Why?” “Did I make a mistake?” “Did I not hear you right?” “Is this really Your will for my life?”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
This is a very hard verse to wrap my head around sometimes. I have sat in my room or wherever talking to God and praying about certain situations and this verse will come to my mind.
Sometimes it is very hard to understand how in the world our current situation can be God’s will for our lives. How can being unhappy in your marriage after you have tried for years to do the right thing and be faithful be in God’s will?
How can struggling every single week and month when you are trying your best to be a good steward be in God’s will?
How can growing up with only one parent possibly be in God’s will?
I am reminded of Paul in these times of questioning. Have you ever read the book of Philippians? I love it!
Philippians is considered the happiest book of the Bible. Do you know the circumstances Paul was in when he wrote the book of Philippians?
He was in prison! Yep, prison.
Trust me when I say this, I have been round and round with God on this whole ‘will’ thing. I have prayed, questioned, praised, trusted, asked even more questions, trusted some more. It’s crazy!
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever asked God for something and He gave you the opposite? How did you handle that?
What do you do when you are trying your very best to live according to God’s word, trust Him with your life and trust Him with the outcome?
Do you get angry with God? Do you quit believing and trusting God’s plan? Do you become depressed?
There are several people in the Bible who experienced this. I have read these stories over and over but it is not until the last few years that their stories have really come alive to me.
Abraham is a great example of this. He was promised offspring as great as the starts yet he and his wife waited 25 years for that promise to be fulfilled. Don’t you just know he had times when he questioned God. I’m sure he and his wife had a few discussions about this.
The story that has really hit home for me lately is that of Job. Again, this is a story I’ve read who knows how many times but it wasn’t until I was talking to a friend that I decided to get my Bible and really read this story again.
I absolutely can not even begin to imagine what he was thinking!
He is going along living his life, taking care of his family, just minding his own business and doing his job then BAM!!
His life COMPLETELY falls apart! He looses everything all at once. Every single area of his life was touched by this.
His family, his work, his friends, his faith. Literally every single area of his life was touched.
Now it is about this time that I begin to feel very selfish and childish. I cannot believe how I act sometimes and question God.
I know that He only wants what is best for me. He said that before He formed me in the womb He knew me. How could He not want what is best for me?!
He promises to work everything out for my good. Now as much as I hate to admit it I have made some mistakes in my life and I can honestly say looking back that God has been amazingly gracious to me!
So as the psalmist David said, I will praise the Lord for His mercy endures forever.
My friend told me something that really hit home. She said, “I’ve had to learn to let things go. I may never understand why things have turned out the way they have and that’s ok. God is in control and He has a reason for allowing it.”
Honestly, you would think I would know this at this stage of my life. I’m no spring chicken and I have had several life experiences that should have taught me by now that I may never have all the answers.
I may never know why God has either caused or allowed certain things in my life.
And that is ok. It’s ok not to have all the answers as long as I know the One who does.
It seems to me that the key is to learn to rest. Rest in God’s goodness. Rest in God’s love for me. Rest in His mercy.
Resting is hard. Resting is literally doing nothing. How can I do nothing when my life is crazy or falling apart?
How can I rest when I need answers? We need to be doing something. We need to fix things right?
But that really isn’t our job. Our job is to not be afraid. Our job is to trust. Our job is to rest in Him.
Are you able to do that? I’m learning. It is not always easy. Sometimes it is hard to jump off the merry go round of trying to fix things, letting God be in control, getting anxious and impatient, then trying to fix things again.
Where to go from here
As I am personally going through some very hard things right now, God is teaching me. He is teaching me to let go.
He is teaching me to let Him be God and to trust all that He says He is. I’d love to say I’m this amazingly strong christian and like Paul, I’m just sitting in my prison (of doubt, worry, anxiety you can fill in the blank) praising God!
But I’m not always doing that if I’m honest.
If I’m being honest with you, sometimes I struggle. I struggle with trusting God is going to work this out for my good.
I don’t see any possible way so I struggle with trust. I don’t doubt God can do anything. Sometimes I struggle doubting if He will.
I think about my life and the mistakes I’ve made and I know I don’t deserve His goodness and grace. I know sometimes I deserve the mess I’m in.
Then God reminds me of His great love for me. He leads me to His promises and His throne of grace and mercy.
I am overwhelmed by His love! Waves of emotion hit me like waves in the ocean crash onto the shore as I read about His love and mercy and grace and forgiveness.
I am brought to my knees in a heap thanking Him over and over and filled with His peace that passes all understanding.
His assurance that He’s got this. It’s under control. I don’t have to have all the answers. I don’t have to know how this will work for my good.
I just have to trust in the One who holds me in His hand and hides me under the shadow of His wings and I know that I am ok.
If you are going through something in your life that has you questioning God and His goodness and love.
If you don’t have all the answers and you are tired of being on the “merry go round of crazy” is what I call it, then come to the cross of Jesus.
Stop whatever you are doing and tell Him you can’t do this anymore and you don’t want to. You need Him to take over and help you to stop questioning every single thing and just trust Him.
As I read these verses and study the stories that go with them I can’t help but thank God for showing us all that He is.