had a conversation recently with a dear friend in which we discussed the many twists and turns of life from relationships, to family, to even success. She made the observation that if God kept our lives on the “straight and narrow that he wouldn’t be able to mold us or shape us to what we really needed to be.” In other words, we’re going to make mistakes in life, in relationships, in interactions. We’re going to suffer loss, disappointment, confusion and frustration. God is going to give, and he is going to take away. However, how we rely on God is really what is going to make all the difference.
Most people rely on God heavily when life is going well. “God is GOOD!” They proclaim. I can’t argue. God is so good, but what about late at night when you are discouraged about a job that isn’t going well, a marriage that has failed or a child that just won’t go to sleep. People like to say that they trust in God when life seems to move according to their own plan. What happens though when they are pushed back and forced to follow His plan? Often, they forget how good God is.
Instead of trusting in God’s plan and timing, they create their own plan of action and attempt to force themselves to a better place. God doesn’t work that way. If one thing is ever present in the Bible, it is God’s desire to teach us patience. Whether it was the Israelites being led out of Egypt, and then wandering 40 years in search of the Promise Land or whether it was Paul admonishing people to wait and prepare for the second coming of Jesus, the Christian life can be described as one of patience and hopeful expectation even in the midst of heartache.
When life isn’t going how we expect it, it isn’t because he wants to disappoint us. Instead it is that He wants to teach us, He wants to mold us, and He wants us to have patience with Him while He does it. I struggle on a daily basis with patience. Patience with myself, patience with others, and patience with Him are the biggest focus in my life right now.
Relying on God in the uncertain times, trusting in his providence and grace, and knowing that he has “great plans for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer 29:11) is not only hard but sometimes impossible to comprehend. It’s hard because it isn’t the secular way of thinking or the worldy way of thinking instead it is a way of thinking in “the supernatural realm,” as my wise friend termed it.
In other words, when you are relying on God even in the bad times, people are not going to understand your behavior or attitude. They may question your motivations or thought process, but relying on God isn’t about being accountable to people but to Him. If I remember that, if you remember that, we will all get through the hard times even if He has to carry us to do it.