Trust the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths smooth. Proverbs 3:5-6
You prayed that your husband would get the position, and after the third interview, it seems that he’s got it wrapped up. Then at the last minute, a local man shows up, one who can be hired for considerably less money. He gets the job. Your husband gets a polite “Thanks, but no thanks” phone call.
You desperately want a child. You believe that the God who opened the womb of Hannah and gave her a son long ago is still in the business of hearing the heart cry of a young woman who wants a baby of her own. You and your husband traipse from doctor to doctor, from cure to cure, hoping, praying, planning. But nothing happens.
What you want, what you pray about, doesn’t always happen. So what do you do? Change companies? Turn your back on God and quit? Hang in there, but put prayer on the back burner of your heart, reserved only for times of absolute desperation?
Now, if you are expecting me in the next two minutes to come up with a few neat clichés or soothing words, giving you all the answers, forget it. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to understand some things, but I have come to some conclusions. Such as? Try the following:
- You don’t give up on God when He doesn’t snap His fingers and make everything happen at your whim and cry—at least, not if you’re wise. I serve and worship the Almighty because He is sovereign and Lord, because He is God, not because of what I get out of the relationship. It’s the relationship of trust which Solomon talked about which, at times, runs contrary to logic and what I think is right. Solomon wrote, “Trust the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths smooth” (Proverbs 3:5-6). The whole idea is that trusting Him, no matter what the outcome, is the way which makes for the smoothest path in life.
- I have had to learn that ours is an imperfect, broken world. Of course, I don’t understand everything. There is no logic to the fact that one girl aborts an unborn child when her neighbor would give almost anything to conceive. It doesn’t make sense that a mother of four young children dies with cancer, when her blasphemous great aunt, who smokes cigars and drinks like a fish, lives to be 95. Of course I am repulsed when the son of a rich family gets the appointment to the Olympic team when better qualified individuals from a poor family get ignored. Of course it is not right. That’s when we learn to “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). But I still believe that God has His payday someday.
- When things don’t always come together, I remind myself that God has a plan and purpose far beyond that which I can see. We give up far too soon, and place far too much importance on the immediate—something that you cannot always understand when you are young. I’ve also found that the promises of the Book bring comfort when I lack understanding, because God’s nature is goodness and love. I’ve also learned that impatience is not a virtue, and most of my mistakes in life have been because I gave up on God doing something and decided to do it myself.
- I have also learned that when doors close, it may have nothing to do with my ability to get a job done, so I’m going to keep on trusting God and doing my very best. The path to the top is not a straight line, but when my goals are what I think God wants done, I’m going to keep knocking on doors, making calls, and keep on believing in God, myself, and my friends. I believe Solomon was right when he affirmed, “He will direct your path.”
Resource reading: Proverbs 3:1-12