The Trust to Act

          Sometimes knowing God’s will is hard. Other times He makes it clear as day. However, even then, following isn’t always easy. Even when I’m convinced I know God’s will, I have trouble carrying it out. Instead of trusting and having courage, I doubt and question and hesitate. When things don’t go as planned, I get scared that I didn’t really know His will in the first place. I question everything I was initially so sure of. I start to think things aren’t working out because I’m disobeying God. I worry that I acted too quickly, didn’t pray enough, or ignored what God was telling me.
          When God first reveals His will to me,I get really excited and am ready and willing to jump right in. Then, as that initial excitement starts to wear off and things start to get a lot more difficult than I expected, doubt starts to creep in. I doubt that I’m following God’s plan and sometimes even whether God has a plan at all. I forget following God doesn’t always mean things will be easy. That Jesus promised we would have trouble and trials in this world if we choose to follow Him.
          When Nehemiah was given the opportunity from God to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall, he doesn’t hesitate or doubt. He acts. Even though he is scared (Nehemiah 2:2), he asks the king to provide him with safe travel back to Jerusalem. Even when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite were “displeased greatly” by his action, he trusts that rebuilding the wall is God’s will and that He will protect him (Nehemiah 2:10). He easily could have been deterred by the obstacles. He could have decided that it was too hard or that if it really was God’s will it would be so much easier, but he didn’t.
          Instead, because God put it on his heart, Nehemiah went to Jerusalem and rebuilt the wall (Nehemiah 2:12).When God revealed his will to Nehemiah, he didn’t know how God would accomplish the task. Despite all of the unknowns and the fear he must have felt, he moved forward. He trusted God had everything under control and didn’t doubt God had a plan.
          Truthfully, if I were Nehemiah, there’s a good chance the wall would never have been rebuilt. I probably would have caved to fear and doubt. I see it happen time and time again in my life. I discern God’s will, I briefly act, things get tough and I have doubts, I lose faith and trust in God, and then I give up. I hope to someday be more like to be more like Nehemiah. I want God to be able to rely on me to rebuild the wall. I don’t want to doubt anymore.
          I pray every day that God will give me the courage and strength to trust like Nehemiah did. I know God has big things in store for me and that with those things will come many more times of hardship. When those times come, I pray I would respond as Nehemiah replied to Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite:
          “Then I replied to them, ‘The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build…” Nehemiah 2:20


True Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:5

To gain wisdom from God all we have to do is ask. All we have to do is ask? When I first read this verse I was so discouraged, because many times I’ve cried out to God asking for wisdom with seemingly no answer. I didn’t understand why, if God gives wisdom to those who ask for it, I hadn’t received the wisdom I so desperately want. After further examining the context of this verse, I was hit with the harsh truth that I wasn’t really asking for wisdom in the first place.

I cry out for wisdom, but what I really want is knowledge for my own selfish gain. I don’t desire to know God more fully, so I can fall deeper in love with Him. I don’t want to know how to preserver through trials, so the testing of my faith can make me mature and complete. Instead, I want to know what I’m supposed to do with my life. I want to know where I’m going to be in ten years. And, while God does want us to ask Him for those types of things too, I’m usually not asking for the right reasons. I don’t want this knowledge to bring more glory to God. What I really want is for God to show me the future so my life will be easier.

When I ask God to reveal these things to me, I think I’m asking for wisdom. But, the knowledge I seek is earthly and perishable. Like the grass and the flowers, it will wither and fall (1 Peter 1:24). It’s not lasting, eternal knowledge, but I still seek it above all else. I put it above God and the wisdom He grants. I make it an idol that I bow down to and worship. God offers me wisdom to persevere through trials making me mature and complete, lacking nothing, and I still choose to ask for selfish knowledge instead.

In order to really desire the wisdom James is talking about in this verse, I have to take my eyes of earthly things and put them on God. Like Paul said in Colossians 3, I have to set my mind on the things above. It’s not always easy, most of the time it is actually really hard. Earthy things are easy to focus on because they are right here. I can see them and feel them and experience them now. I can see how having knowledge about my future would make my life  easier right now, here on earth.

But God knows that the immediate gain I would experience from the knowledge I seek is not really what I ultimately need. He can see the whole picture of eternity and knows that having wisdom to persevere is really what will benefit me. It is what will make me mature and complete.

I need to trust that God knows best and fix my eyes on the things that He says are important. I need to set aside the selfish desires I have, so I am able to experience every blessing God has for my life. I don’t think this will ever be easy, but I know with God I can do it because I have died and my life is now hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3)

Follow Me

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

       Matthew 4:18-22


It always amazes me, no matter how many times I read this story, that Jesus’ disciples drop everything and leave their lives behind forever. Jesus says “follow me” and they do. No questions about where they are going or what they’re going to do when they get there. They just do it.

I want to live my life the way they do. I want to have such a complete trust in God that I will go and do whatever He wants.

When I don’t have all the answers

When I don’t know where I am going

When I don’t know what I’ll do when I get there

When I don’t even know how I’ll get there.

I want to be so devoted it’s only natural I would follow Jesus wherever he leads.

But it’s hard and it’s scary and most of the time I don’t trust that God has everything under control. When I don’t have every detail planned out or when something seems impossible, I question whether I am on the right path. I start to doubt decisions I’ve made and become uncertain of where God is leading.

It’s easy to trust God when things are easy and clear and safe, but when they get hard and uncertain and risky it becomes a lot more difficult.  Instead of dropping everything to follow God, I decide it’s best to wait. Instead of putting more trust in God, I pull away.

I pray for God to reveal His will to me, but the problem isn’t that I don’t know His will. The problem’s that I want an easy and simple answer. He already revealed His will and now He wants me to trust and follow Him. He wants me to believe in His plan even when it’s not easy or completely clear.

 But like I said it’s hard, especially when I focus on knowing what God has in store for my future instead of on just knowing Him. When I focus more on my life than on my relationship with God I end up with only fear and doubt. Those are the times I chose not to follow, when I decide to wait when I should go. However, when I focus on God trust and devotion grow from my desire to know Him. Then I act like His disciples did. When He calls I follow.

I am afraid.

My biggest fear is that I will make the wrong decision. I often spend hours every night lying in bed worrying about my future. Where will I live? What will I do? I’m usually not anxious about what the answers to these questions are. Most of the time, I’m open to going and doing whatever God wants, so I’m not too concerned about what His plan is for my life.

Instead, I’m incredibly worried about figuring out the answers to those questions. After many years of seeking God’s will for my life post-graduation, I feel like I have more questions than answers about where I’m headed after I get my degree. Although I know there is a plan, it’s scary not knowing what it is.

It’s especially scary when I reach a point in my life that I have to make a decision which will limit my options for the future. I am terrified I will make the wrong choice. That I’ll head down a path that God does not want me on and forever separate myself from His plan.

These are the times I’m awake late into the night worrying and praying that God will give me some kind of direction. That he will reveal the choice He wants me to make. Sometimes the answers are clear, but more often than not I feel even more directionless and become even more worried. How am I supposed to follow God’s plan if I don’t know what it is?

It’s at these times that I often forget two really important things. First, God can be trusted. He does have a plan that He will eventually reveal to me if I continue to pursue Him and His will. Even when I have no idea what the plan is, I can trust that God knows and is in control.

Second, God is great. He is bigger and more powerful than any choice I could ever make. When it comes to making decisions, I often worry that making the wrong choice will take me off the path that God has planned, potentially separating me from His plan forever. But really, that’s ridiculous. A God who created the world, who made something out of nothing, who came to the earth as a man, died for our sins, and rose again is not limited by any decision made by a mere human. No matter how big a decision seems to me, God is infinitely bigger. Because of His greatness, as long as I’m pursuing Him, I don’t have to worry about picking the wrong option.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
Psalm 145:3