“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles” Psalm 34:17 (NIV).
Twice I have felt God convicting me to take life-changing steps of faith, and when I obeyed, neither one of them turned out like I had expected—at all. When I found myself in difficult circumstances, I called out to God and questioned whether he heard my cries, or even if I had heard Him correctly. I fought, trying to get back any semblance of the life I had given up. I felt abandoned when I couldn’t piece my circumstances back together. It wasn’t until I changed the way I prayed that I began to understand that He had something more.
Jesus prayed in the garden, “Your will be done” (Matt. 6:10). He recognized that, although God was listening and deeply caring for His circumstance, it didn’t mean that God’s sovereign plan wasn’t the best and only way. In the end Jesus was obedient unto death for us. Throughout all of this, He never questioned whether His Father was listening to His hurts by saying, “Hey, now, why are all these people coming at me with swords and whips and such?” His sweet communion with His Father gave Him peace to do God’s will even in the midst of the storm.
Everyone should always pray for the Father’s will to be done, but honestly, I was missing the mark on that one. I wanted to be in the center of His will and tried my best to obey, but when my own expectations weren’t met (where everything turns out rosy), I got upset. This led me to question God as to whether He was really listening. Now I’ve learned to change my prayers to “Lord, help me to understand Your will.” That way, when I know I am in the center of His will, I can withstand anything. This takes communing with God on more intimate levels, which in turn, leads to deep-rooted trust to persevere through His plan. God is already listening. He is asking me to listen back.
The support-raising journey is a big step of faith to follow after God’s will that is often full of unexpected twists and turns. While we should work hard toward our goals, there is truly no way for any of us to predict how it will turn out. God simply asks for our obedience as He works out His plan. Know that He listens to our desperate cries every step of the way whether things are turning out the way we expect or not.
Fast forward a few years from my steps of obedience that didn’t quite look the way I wanted. God used those circumstances to put me in a greater position to be used by Him that was far more reaching than I could’ve ever had expected. My vision was narrow while His saw the entire plan. We might not understand the pieces to the puzzle in the moment when things are in disarray, but God really does care as He uses everything for His glory. Obedience, trust, acceptance—that’s what He wants from us as He continues to cradle us and listen to our every plea.
- Whether for the good or bad, are there things on the support-raising journey that have not turned out quite the way you expected?
- How have you seen God at work during this time?
- Expect God to do amazing things with you through your obedience to Him.
*First posted on Godandelephants.com on September 15, 2016