It is one of the sweetest and best lessons learned to trust the Lord implicitly, no matter the circumstances. To rely so heavily upon Him that we would be in trouble if He did not show up.
I am in a storm just now–both a storm and a listless sea as I wait for more direction for my summer. I haven’t the slightest notion where I will live or where I will work. I have worked to apply to internships and jobs, but now, a mere three weeks away from summer break, I have no leads.
And yet I am at peace.
I’ve encountered many conversations about dreams and desires this semester. Of the Lord doing “immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.” And I’ve been frustrated. I love dreams. I love potential. I love the thought that something glorious is just around the corner. But how do you cope when nearly every venture to open a new door is slammed in your face? How do you process when your failings grow large and faith grows faint? How do you withstand the battering blows of refusals that weaken your resolve and cause expectation to taste bitter in your mouth?
But here is truth: The greatest adventure of my life is following my Lord. Here is where faith comes alive–not in the days of blessing taken for granted or the nights full of peaceful rest, but here in the days of adversity and the nights that linger long and harsh. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” In verse 6, the author also states, “and without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and He rewards those who seek Him.” How easy it is to believe the former and doubt the latter. How could he possibly reward me–be good to me–when he has once more stripped away my desires?
But…When did God ever promised to give us the life of our dreams? To allow us to feel complete fulfillment on this earth? Is that not what Heaven is for? Yes, the Lord does grant us the desires of our heart as we delight in him [Ps. 37:4], and yes, he delights to give good gifts to his children [Matt. 7:11], but what if some of his greatest gifts are his refusals?
I have nothing of which to complain, and no just cause for bitterness or anger. The Lord has not given me grand adventures overseas, or thrilling internships in the U.S., or life-changing missions trips for this summer. He has given me instead small tasks of faithfulness in familiar places, and a call to love those around me right here. Jim Elliot told his wife, Elisabeth, while they were waiting to discern whether they should get married, to “not let the longing slay the appetite of the living.” While he was speaking of marriage, I think the sentiment holds true to every season of life, for we are an impatient people who somehow are fooled into thinking the best living is around the corner, when in reality it is in the here and now.
How can I expect the Lord to place big things in my life when I refuse to be faithful, joyful, and content with my one talent I have right now? And even more, could I continue to be faithful, joyful, and content should the Lord never grant me any of my heart’s longings?
The answer is and must be, how can I do otherwise? My Father is so good to me, I cannot even begin to recount His faithfulness, love, protection, kindness, and goodness that have followed me all the days of my life. He has promised me a future and and hope [Jeremiah 29:11]. Will I trust Him for my soul and not for my life?