“A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.” -Proverbs 16:9
In this article, I will share some of the lessons I have learned as I have journeyed with the Lord in my “adventure” with God. These truths are not earth-shattering revelations. They really are simple truths found in the Bible, but they have become more real to me as God’s word and timing has tested me and proved true in my life (see Psalm 105:19).
God is Faithful Even When I am Not
Sometimes the darkest moment is right before the dawn of the light of God’s fulfilled promise. There was a season in my life where I began to doubt God’s faithfulness because it seemed like He was not coming through on His promises to me. I got angry with God. After a few years of what was probably the darkest period of my life, I reaffirmed my faith in God in a moment of intense emotion. As I recall, it was not long after that when God began to bring about the fulfillment of some of His promises. My life began to change for the better. God was faithful even when I struggled in my faith. In my weakness, He showed Himself strong. God does not demand from us perfect faith, we only need to not give up. If we will not give up, we will see the harvest.
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” -Galatians 6:9
God is More Patient, Gracious and Longsuffering than Am I
At times I have really struggled with a sense of condemnation, feeling guilty a lot. I don’t nearly struggle with this as much as I used to. As I have walked with the Lord, I have certainly made my share of mistakes and dealt with temptations. These struggles have actually helped me to accept and receive God’s grace. When we feel overwhelmed by guilt, we can cry out or we can cave in. I have had times of doubt and indecision and I have struggled to overcome temptations, but God has never given up on me. He’s been merciful when I have felt most unworthy. He has never counted me unworthy. In fact, there have been a couple of distinct moments in my life where God made it clear to me that I passed the test. I might not have given myself a passing grade, but He did! Thank God, His mercies are new every morning and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
God Knows More Than I Do
This one should seem obvious, right? There have been many times in my life where I have questioned God’s timing. I still question it sometimes, it does not always make sense. Why does God seem to wait so long for some things? When I was about 25 years old I began to have a strong desire to be married. But I didn’t marry until I was 34, about 9 years later. That was not my plan! Then, we waited another 5 years to have children and Leslie had 2 miscarriages during that time. I was 39 when our first boy was born. Again, not my plan. When I was younger, I pictured myself married by at least age 30 with 4 or 5 kids. But God had a different plan.
When I reflect, I am grateful for God’s plan. The delays have worked to refine my character and deepen my walk with Him. I am a blessed man, not because I got everything I wanted when I wanted it, but because I have allowed the Lord to add to my life in His timing. His blessings have enriched my life. I am learning to lean not on my own understanding, but rather to trust Him with all my heart, knowing He will direct my steps (see Proverbs 3:5-6). He will bring His purposes to pass in my life (see Psalm 37:5-6).
God’s Perfect Plan includes Setbacks and Disappointments
Setbacks, disappointments, personal struggles, even failures, are not an enemy of God’s plan. They may in fact be set-ups for better things. God wants to use these experiences to propel us into greater things. I imagine Peter in his boat, fishing all night. Jesus does a miracle and Peter hauls in a huge catch. Peter feels so unworthy, but Jesus says, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men” (see Luke 5:1-11). Peter might have settled for the life of a fisherman, but Jesus called him to be something greater. God will use setbacks to propel us into greater places of influence, authority and purpose for His Kingdom. But to reach that destiny, we may need to walk through some valleys.
In my next article, I’ll share more of what God has taught me as I have lived out my “adventure” with Him. Blessings!