#trust

God’s Will

By Elizabeth Thomas

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Are you someone who likes to plan? Or would you rather go with the flow? Are you someone who maps out your life, every decision or choice? Or are you someone who sees where the road takes you?

If you are like me, you would rather have a plan. I think human beings, in general, crave consistency and stability. We like to know we are in control of our future. The hard part comes when our plans fail, or get interrupted. As we all know, life doesn’t always go according to our plan.

In Kid’s Klub this past week, we focused on the Lord’s prayer and God’s will. In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. First, He acknowledged God as His Holy Father, then He said, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) He taught His disciples that when we pray, we shouldn’t start by laying out our plans or focusing on our will. We should start by accepting God’s plan, and set our will aside. Jesus knew how to approach God with the right heart. Although it is extremely difficult, God wants us to let Him guide us, not the other way around. It is so easy to come to God with your plans and desires and ask that He fulfill them. It is much harder to come to God and ask Him to lead you.

God is still teaching me to let Him lead me.

I have often laid some of the best plans (in my opinion) only for Him to change everything and send me in a completely new direction. Sometimes I feel lost and confused because I don’t know where He is leading me. But I know He is teaching me to trust Him. I am learning that until I submit to His plan, I will never know peace. If I continue to question His will, I will never be content.

Have you ever questioned God’s plan for your life? Have you ever been confused or wondered why He is allowing something bad to happen or why He is keeping you from something? I think at some point, all of us question the will of God. We have a plan set out for our life and when it doesn’t work out, we question God. Why would You let this happen to me? Why can’t You let this work out for me? Why are You doing this to me?

But He is not doing anything to us. He has done everything for us. He sent His Son to die for us. He made a way for us to have a relationship with Him. And He knows His plan is perfect. All He is asking is for us to trust Him.

I won’t say that I have learned this lesson completely. I still struggle to trust Him, especially when His plan doesn’t make sense to me. But I believe what it says in Jeremiah 29:11. I believe that God’s plan is to prosper me, not to harm me. I know that God’s plan for my life is perfect, even if I don’t understand it.

What about you? Are you still holding tightly to your earthly plan? Or are you ready to give up your will and trust Him?

Disappointment and the Holidays

By Karen Polich

The holiday season is like a magnifying glass to disappointment and struggle. It starts before Thanksgiving and builds into Christmas. Challenges that may have been before us all year long become intensified. Deep loss and the grief that follows shakes us to our core. While we may be prepared for a setback here and there, the long-term disappointments that linger for months and years often knock us off our feet.

Pastor Michael M. Cook examined a part of the Christmas story that shows us what it is like to live in disappointment while remaining deeply faithful to God. Listen to the podcast here. Zechariah and Elizabeth spent most of their lives not expecting a child. Yet, their hearts desired to be parents. To add insult to injury, in their culture, it would be seen as disgraceful to not have a child. They were deeply faithful but deeply disappointed. Read Luke 1:5-25.

Zechariah was fulfilling his duties as a priest when the angel came to him. He was a disappointed man lighting incense for a disappointed people. His story of disappointment mirrored the story of God’s people. They had been waiting a long time for God to fulfill His promise of a Messiah. Zechariah and Elizabeth were intertwined with Joseph and Mary. Their story is part of the Christmas story and the story of God’s redemptive plan.

One of the magnificent marks of maturity is the ability to move forward in your faith in disappointing seasons of life. – Michael M. Cook

God is present. He is there in the times of joy and He is there in the disappointment and struggle. Are you swimming in grief? God is right there with you. Can’t see beyond the darkness? God is with you. Stuck where you don’t want to be? God is there.

What do we need to keep faith through disappointment? Time and trust. Time can allow us to see things from a different perspective. While God may or may not reveal the answer to our “Why?”, He will help us see Him more clearly and will build our character through the agony and pain. Disappointment doesn’t mean ultimate defeat. Often we think God has checked out of the situation, but in truth, we have checked out. Trust is the key.

The rare capacity of trusting God while in the midst of struggle is crucial.

When we are in a place we don’t want to be in, we have a choice to trust Him, or turn from Him. When we choose to trust with faith, we are staying in the fray and letting God do His work.

Remain steadfast. God is at work.