Have people told you that God has a wonderful plan for your life? Have you ever wondered what it is, and when it will start?
For many years now I've often heard fellow believers tell me, "God has a wonderful plan for you!" and each time I think I wish I knew what it is and when it's gonna start.
God's plan for me and my plan for myself haven't necessarily always been the same, even after my salvation. I certainly want them to be the same. I want to do exactly whatever He wants me to be doing with my life. Why wouldn't I? I want the occupation He has for me, the one He knows is best. I want to work always, but I want to work His plan for me, not my own.
I've so often prayed, "Lord, let me for once have a profession that I love, an occupation that I can stay excited about that would be fulfilling for me in serving You; one that has a worthwhile purpose besides just my own survival, and that forwards Your Kingdom on earth and destroys the works of Satan; a profession that will glorify You in Your perfect love and goodness and wisdom and righteousness in the eyes of the lost; one that will help the hurting see that they need a Savior and that You alone are the only One and the only Way and the only Truth, and that living life for You, your way, is the only way to find lasting joy and fulfillment in this life."
I pray, "Lord, lead me to the occupation that's perfect for me. Show me what You would have me to do with what's left of my squandered life. And please make it obvious to me. I don't want to make another permanent move until I've heard clearly from You. I don't want to wonder if it's Your leading or just my own imagination, just another pipe dream, just another thing to do, just another occupation. I know it's asking alot, but it's nothing beyond You. And if I can be sure that I've heard from YOU on it, I'll boldly go. I just don't want to settle any more for less than what You want of me, and I'm tired of standing at the crossroads of yet another major life decision."
I think He replied, "What if I don't? Will you be okay with that? What if my plan for you is to live out your life always standing at crossroads, always wondering what to do next? How long can you tread water? What if I just want to keep you in the school of life, learning and growing and loving?"
Then I say, "But Father, I know You want what's best for me in serving You." And He replies, "Bingo. But maybe what you think is best for you is not what I know is best for you. So who ya gonna follow? Don't you trust Me? What if My occupation for you, My plan for you, is to always wonder what My plan is for you? What if I'm trying to get you to learn how to have joy and peace even in that? What if I just want you to be My child and rest in that?"
Then I said, "But Lord, I'm so tired of living this way. I'm tired of learning lessons and standing at crossroads in my life."
He says, "You think you have it bad? Try meandering 40 years in the wilderness like My servant Moses. Try losing everything and scraping sores for awhile like My servant Job. Try running for your life awhile like My servant David. Try being thrown overboard a ship, being swallowed by a big fish and living in its belly for three days like My servant Jonas. Try living lives like My chosen Apostles did, and then suffering deaths like theirs. Try wondering day to day whether you'll have food or shelter, and having to trust Me daily for those things like so many of my faithful servants today. Try living a whole lifetime among people who despise you, and then being tortured and crucified by them like My own beloved Son. Quit whining, My child."
Then I say, "But I'm just a hair on the Body of Christ, not one of those great ones." Then He says, "So just accept that and be grateful for it. Is My grace sufficient or not? Do you trust Me or not? Crucify yourself, let your own wants and desires for your life on earth die as well, and just listen for my still, quiet voice in all things.
"Believe me, I'll call on you when I want you to do something specific for Me. Just let me direct your steps day by day, and let Me take care of the rest. If you're really trusting Me, I will open the right doors and close the wrong ones for you. I will direct you My own way. But you must trust that I will. If you can manage those things, then maybe you will learn how to live always in the real joy that you keep writing about."
Then I say, "But Lord, I don't think I have the strength left. I'm so tired of trying to figure it out and trying to find my niche. I've been doing it my whole adult life, and I'm 52 now!"
Then He says, "I'll be the judge of what you're strong enough for. The question is, when are you going to let Me be the God of your life and just rest in Me and listen to My still, quiet voice? I'm either faithful to complete the work I've begun in you, or I'm not. Who's the liar? Are you pushing and striving to complete the work yourself? Are you going to get yourself to heaven now? You're such a child. Just let go and have joy in being MY child, and leave your life to me. I thought you gave up having control of your own life when you cried out to me and I saved you.
"Here's my occupation for you right now, Terry: Know Me, rest in Me, love Me, trust Me with everything, love your neighbor as yourself, seek first My Kingdom always, be grateful for whatever you have, pray always with thanksgiving, and live your life in the joy of the certain hope of one day seeing My face."
I said, "Yes, Lord!" Ah, but here I am, sometimes still second-guessing what His plan may be for me, sometimes still second-guessing where I am and where I should be and whether I'm doing what I should be doing with my life. Some days, I just can't seem to help it. Then when I realize that my strivings, confusions and disappointments are robbing me of joy, I'm reminded to go back to just trusting Him and resting in Him and letting Him lead me day by day, and my joy returns.
In all the many different jobs I've had in life, I've always known right up front what I was hired to do and what was expected of me. I can work with that. But serving God is apparently different. I'm beginning to realize I might not know what His "plan" was for me until after my life on earth is over. Maybe then I'll find out what it was and whether I was a good and faithful servant in accomplishing it or not.
God is perfect in all His ways. It occurs to me that if He were to tell me His specific plan for me right up front, I'd probably do as I've always done in all my jobs: Rather than waiting for my boss to tell me every single move to make moment by moment, I'd be taking the initiative to do whatever I assume he/she would want me to do. If I knew God's plan for me, I'd be doing whatever I think He wants me to do moment by moment, rather than waiting for His personal, specific direction.
But the question is, is that how God wants me to serve Him, by doing what I assume I ought to be doing?
Looking back, I see that whenever I've done anything I assumed I was supposed to do for Him, without His personal, specific bidding, it seemed to fall dead. Whenever I used to force myself to share the Lord with someone because I thought I was supposed to do it, yes maybe I planted a seed, but it usually fell on deaf ears and inhibited further opportunities with that person. They would avoid me from then on, or at least would avoid any deep conversation with me. As a result, I soon gave up making myself do things.
Then one day I found myself witnessing so naturally that it just flowed out of me without effort. I realized later that I hadn't pre-determined to do it, but just "felt prompted" to do it. That has happened in many instances since then, and has always led to growing relationships whereby I could continue witnessing by example, by exhibiting the good fruit of having surrendered my live to Jesus, my Lord and Savior.
I purpose to be listening and available to do His bidding moment by moment and day by day as He prompts me, rather than being too busy doing my own thing to hear Him when He calls. Then whenever I feel prompted to do something AND I judge that it is something that will be good and pleasing to the Lord and not violate any ordinances He's given me in His Word, then I do it.
It seems to me that Jesus was closely attentive and acutely available at all times to doing and saying whatever the Father was telling Him to do or say, moment by moment and day by day. And I want to be like Him.
In this way, I can be free of needing to know what exactly is God's overall plan for my life, while still being able to have joy in the hope that He will one day say to me, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Now come and share in My joy."
Check out the following words of Jesus (KJV,emphasis added):
Mt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
5:19 ...Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
Jn 5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth
Jn 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
Jn 8:28 ...When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself...
Jn 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
Jn 12:50 ...whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
Jn 14:10 ...the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Jn 14:31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do...