Regardless of how much we plan and how hard we work, we are not in control of our lives. This is not to say that we should not plan for the future, but rather we should be ready for when our lives do not turn out as planned. It is important that we respond to the unpredictable nature of life well.
That is hard to do. We would rather live with the illusion that we are in control, but when that illusion breaks apart, it requires us to respond with faith and love.
This is the type of situation my family is in right now. My wife and I want to take our lives, and our ministry, in a certain direction, but ultimately we are not the ones who are able to make that decision. We have to wait on the decision other people make, and trust that God’s will be done. It is a helpless feeling to sit on the sidelines and wait for the decision that other people will make.
Through this process God has taught me what it means to trust Him when life is totally out of my control. Here are five lessons that I have learned through this time of waiting.
- Trust that God will get me to the right place. This is hard to do when you are certain about what the right place is, but God has a different idea. When the girlfriend I had before met Jenny broke up with me I was devastated. I was certain that we were meant to be together forever. In my mind, the right place was to get back together with her, but God had a different place in mind. It was difficult to go through the process of waiting while having a broken heart, but now I look back and understand that was all necessary to prepare me for the blessing God had for me in Jenny. Jenny was the right place, but I didn’t know that at the time. As we trust God, we have to surrender our idea of what the right place looks like, and trust God to lead us to the place he has prepared for us.
- Focus on my relationship with God. When everything else is outside of our control, this remains an area that we do have control over. The most important element of our lives is our relationship with God. If this relationship is out of sync, then we will not be able to live the life God created us to live. As we learn to walk with God through the details of life, we are prepared for what the future has in store for us. This requires that we spend time reading the Bible, praying, serving, worshipping, and fasting. A strong relationship with God helps us to trust Him, even when our dreams shatter.
- Ask for prayers. Most of us will pray about the circumstances of our lives, but we will not ask other Christians to intercede on our behalf. Through this time of waiting one of the things Jenny and I have done is to ask key people in our lives to pray for us. This has been a huge blessing to us. The encouragement and affirmation we have received has reminded us that we don’t walk this path alone. It is great to know that we have so many people on our side, cheering us on, and praying for us. It gives us the motivation to keep trusting God.
- Don’t look for signs. As we try to discern God’s will, it is easy to look out for signs, so we can try to figure out what God is doing. Part of the problem is that we begin to see “signs” everywhere. Just because the sewer backs up or the car breaks down doesn’t mean God is trying to tell us something or that Satan is opposing our lives. Sometimes things like that just happen, and there is no hidden message behind it. If you are looking for signs to try to discern God’s will, then you are going to drive yourself crazy. God’s going to get us to the right place, so we don’t need to look for signs along the way. When He wants us to know something, He will make it clear to us.
- Be a blessing where I am. It is possible for us to become so focused on what God has for us in the future, that we miss out on the opportunities God has for us today. Not only does God use these opportunities to prepare us for the next assignment, but we also miss out on sharing God’s love to our neighbor. Remember God has blessed us, so we can be a blessing to someone else.
It is not easy to wait on God. Living with uncertainty and tension is difficult to do. What we want is for God to move quickly and get us to the place we are to be right away. Yet, life experience and the Bible agree that this is not how God works. God uses periods of waiting to mature our trust in Him and prepare us for the next stage of our lives. (Tweet this)
I know that both of these things have been true in my life. Even now as I wait for God to open the door for the next opportunity in my life, God is teaching me truths about Himself and about me that I would have missed at any other time. That is why I thank God for this time of waiting. As I trust Him in this moment, He is bringing healing and transformation to my life.