We all go through times of anxiety where we don’t know what is going to happen. We want to do God’s will, but we find ourselves waiting and wondering what that will is. So let me give you a little bit of spiritual guidance for anxious times. There are 5 things I hope you remember as we have these conversations in the coming months.
1. God has plans and purposes for us. (See Jeremiah 29:10-14). Plans for good. Plans to use us. Plans for a future and a hope. I do not believe in a God who is distant, out there, surprised about the circumstances we pray about. If God is in any way out there, then God is out there in the future and knows what lies ahead.
The challenge for us is that God’s plans are way bigger than our church, our pastor, or our building. His plan is for the world, and it is sometimes beyond what we can see and comprehend.
2. You want God’s plans, even if they are not what makes sense or what you think you want. In fact, if the Bible is to be believed, God’s plans often don’t make sense. They are rarely the smart play or the strategic move.
We would like to think our way to God’s will. To figure it out. To see the whole path. But the way to find God’s will is to trust him and to put yourself, your family, and your future in his hands. No if’s, and’s, or buts.
-No if’s. “I’ll trust God if he does not make the road hard, or if it does not cause me pain, or if I get to have my way.”
-No and’s. “I’ll trust God and work on my own plan, trust God and save money like cray, I’ll trust God and hold back on putting my heart in the church just in case.”
-No but’s. “I’ll trust God but I am going to say ‘I told you so’ when it doesn’t work, or I’ll trust God but he better do what I think he should do in the time I think he should do it.”
No if’s, and’s, or but’s.
In the long run, I am telling you, that you will be much better off in God’s will. One of the harshest things God can do to you is give you what you want even when it is not what you need.
3. (This might be the most annoying truth I am going to share with you) God uses discernment time to teach and grow you. When you start to really seek God’s will, you are giving the Holy Spirit an opportunity to teach you patience and to teach you to rely on God. God does not waste that opportunity.
This means that discernment often takes time. You want to do God’s will, then God’s will is often that you spend some time waiting. God wants you not just to trust him with whatever you are discerning, but also to trust him with the timing. If God lets us go right away, then we will tend to do it in our power, so God has us wait. It is annoying, but God is not going to waste an opportunity for deeper a relationship with us. So expect that this is not going to come together quickly. God’s timing is not our timing.
4. Don’t be afraid of conversations. We don’t like hard conversations. How many of you have trouble talking about uncomfortable things? We don’t want to say anything. We don’t want to disagree or have conflict. We don’t want to be the only voice saying something and sound like a jerk.
We must have conversations that are challenging and uncomfortable. I wish we didn’t have to have them, or that we could have them with little or no emotion. But that is not going to be the case. So engage. Talk. Be part of what is going on. Ask questions.
5. Here is my big message for you: You can trust God. You can trust him. You can trust God with the future. You can trust God with the process. You can trust God with the timing. You can trust God with the next steps. As we seek God’s will, it is our job to have conversations but also to quiet our emotions so that we can hear God’s still small voice or whisper in the middle of our lives. We have to stop playing out worst-case-scenarios in our minds. It is God’s job to make his will clear. Then, when we know what it is, we must obey, no if’s, and’s, or but’s.