I’ve pondered something lately. Why do we only talk about God’s sovereignty when things aren’t well?
“…For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose”
What do you know about missing God? Not missing Him as though He has gone away, but missing Him in action. I’ve had that experience quite a bit lately.
I’ve been so focused on what God has not done yet, that I’ve completely missed what He’s been doing. If I’m honest, I tend to miss God when He doesn’t answer my prayers the way I expect (ok let’s be real- the way I want). But, He answers -according to His good purpose for my life. That’s where I missed it.
After coming out of the classroom, I expected God to have another opportunity waiting for me right around the corner. I’ve seen that before. As a matter of fact, every time I’ve moved to another state (and thus into another job/school) that has been the pattern. I get restless, I pray, He tells me to prepare to leave, I question, He confirms, I leave, He provides. And, I live “happily ever after” until the next time the pattern emerges. True to form, the pattern emerged. I got restless, prayed, left and….
A year and a half later, I’m still waiting on the provision. Or so I thought. As it turns out, I’ve simply missed the provision. After two days of darkness, crying, moping, complaining (i.e. a temper tantrum), my sweet husband comes home and asks a simple question “Do you want God’s will for our lives?” Light bulb! I’d missed it!
In January (yep January) I sensed I needed to schedule a meeting with someone. Two months later I finally did it, only he spent the majority of the time telling me I needed to go back to school, where to go, etc. Not interested. A few months prior, a friend of mine mentioned the exact same thing. Got the exact same response, “Uh, nope, not interested.” Turns out, God was beginning to work in me to will according to His good purpose. Missed Him.
I was frustrated because I wanted to find a new career, a new calling, and those doors didn’t open. God granted me part time opportunities that took care of our needs, but allowed me the emotional rest and healing I didn’t know I would need. (The miscarriage was confirmed the day I was due back to start school – how would I have survived that year?) Missed Him.
I was overwhelmed by the fact that I didn’t connect with any of the jobs I’d come across. Mind you, I am not afraid of work. And, I have desires of how I want to serve. God said that I’m not ready yet. There is more preparation needed – school is a part of that. Missed Him.
I’ve complained about not being able to do/get everything I’ve wanted. Yet, God has provided all that we have needed – with a few wants thrown in just because.
Oh, and the kicker? I just realized that I actually started this degree program about 13 years ago, but the timing wasn’t right. There were other things God needed to do in my life. Now, going back to school for counseling makes much more sense. Thirteen years ago, the desire was there, now some of the life experiences have caught up. Now for the training…
So, how are you missing God? What things are you believing in Him to provide that it seems He hasn’t done, at least not how you’d like? How has He answered, but not quite how you expected? I’ve spent useless energy and time in frustration simply because I’ve missed Him. I haven’t trusted that He really is working in me to will and to act according to His good purpose. Not just any purpose, but His GOOD one. I’ve missed it. Oh, and the next verse in Philippians says “Do everything without grumbling and complaining…” I’ve blown that, but that’s another blog…
Still learning about…
Resting in His Sovereignty,
This post is the result of a journal entry written last August. It was intended to be a newsletter…never made it…
Building houses and planting gardens… that’s what Reggie and I are doing these days. Not literally, but in a biblical sense. To understand what this phrase means, let me take you back to the days of Jeremiah. Often, Christians quote Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you…” as encouragement during times of frustration, difficulty, or confusion. Appropriately so. However, there is a preface – an introduction if you will – when we look at that verse in context…
“This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon… It said:
4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Jeremiah, being led by the Holy Spirit, penned these words when God’s chosen, Judah, was in exile. Years prior, God, through Moses promised that He would reward their faithfulness, but unfaithfulness would result in exile. Thus, after generations of grace and mercy (and warnings) the people of Judah find themselves in exile – in a land not their own, with people not their own. God’s people – frustrated, confused and finally drawn to the Lord.
While Reggie and I do not find ourselves in a physical “exile”, we are finding ourselves in a state of frustration and confusion. Trusting in God’s leading, I have stepped out of teaching full-time– again – waiting to see where He leads me next. Reggie is in a “holding pattern”– having identified some of his passions and giftedness, yet waiting on God to open doors for them to be exercised fully. Just when my “holding pattern” seemed to make sense as we found out we were expecting a baby, we miscarried. So, while we are not physically in “Babylon”, emotionally we are in a “foreign” land of instability and like the Jews, we are waiting on the Lord.
Yet, while we are here we are called to “build houses and plant gardens…” Not sit idle while we wait for the next “official” ministry opportunity, assignment or job. Not twiddle our thumbs as we eagerly look forward to a future pregnancy. But we are to “build and plant” right where we are, in our exile. Simply put, we are to live. And while we are living in exile, Jeremiah comforts us with these words…
“10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 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. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (emphasis mine).
So while we sit in exile, building and planting, we take comfort in knowing that we will not always be in this place. We are encouraged to know that even when we are clueless, God knows the plans He has for us. We are overwhelmed by His grace. And, we are humbly reminded by the reality that in the midst of it all, our desires, our hopes and our plans, ultimately God’s desire is that we will call upon Him, pray to Him, and seek Him – with all our hearts. Then He will be found.
Resting in His Sovereignty
“Building Houses and Planting Gardens – NOW” (Pt. 2) coming soon…