This past week or so I have had myself in a mess. I have been considering the future and worrying about what’s going to go on. It bothers me so much that I can’t predict what will be. I can’t say whether anything will turn out the way I’d like, or whether I will just have to adjust to so many things staying the same even though new seasons of the year are unfolding. Does this sound familiar? Maybe it is — I’m sure I’ve said something along these lines several times by now. But each time I explore these questions in the light of a new situation, I take away lessons that are rich with significance for the times I’m living in.
This time, I have to ask myself, what makes my life a success? Is it in my dreams coming true without delay, or is it in knowing no matter which way my life unfolds, my Father is caring for me? I have to decide these things if I am to be at peace with God, myself, my life and what happens to me — even if things don’t change.
You see, I have decisions before me. I have prayed about not dwelling on disappointment or the discomfort of my present trials, and God’s answer has been a surprise to me. He says, “I won’t just give this to you; you have to work on it. I have already done enough in your life to know that I am trustworthy and abundant enough to be all that you need. Now you have to work this out in your heart. You know what to believe, you just have to decide to live it out.”
How do we do this? For one thing, I need to stand back and assess my situation based on the truth that I want to live by. I may not be able to count on little things that I would like to enjoy right now, but this cannot — and should not — diminish what I do have and what I can have.
I can live for today, not basing my happiness on anything that I can’t fully enjoy right now. At first this may sound foolish, but I don’t believe this is because it is in any way unbiblical. I don’t want to dismiss the overflow of blessing that I have in this moment that I can only be guaranteed today. I don’t want to hold on for more as if what God has provided for my needs at this time is not enough. I have all the fullness of God to enjoy and to strain for in this moment. I pray that I would not be caught up in vain pursuits that discard my God for lesser things.
See the sovereignty of God in what I lack. He does not expect me to believe that things things are inherently bad or that desiring them is bad, but that by withholding them — even while they be good things — He is teaching me to trust Him without condition. How shall I trust His heart if I do not allow Him to freely take from and give to me whatever He sees as best? Truly it is impossible for me not to grow and benefit from His will if I am putting it first in my life.
God honors the sacrifices of praise that we offer to Him, therefore, let us be swift in lifting them up to Him. My life is not what I hold in my hands in this moment, but in what I hold in my heart. If lacking material, social or temporal things puts me in touch with the abundance of possessing Christ, than I will rejoice in whatever loss I have.
I also need to deal with my perspective on my present and my future. The more aware I become of the truth, the more responsible I become for keeping my heart diligently committed to it. The lesson here seems to be that because I have grown more mature in my faith through the Holy Spirit’s work in various trials, God will no longer be treating me as a child in the faith. He will be calling me to stand up and bear more of the brunt of living for Him. I know how now, after spending so much time observing His love in taking care of me, His consistency in instructing me as a parent, and His provision in building up my spiritual muscle.