It’s not about me, and it’s not about this life. I can’t expect to understand the plans of the God who stoked every star, engineered every insect, and knows every grain of sand. His plan is bigger than me and my ability to comprehend. Faith means realizing that I am at best an insignificant part of a very big strategy, and being comfortable with that.
I may live a blameless life and still die in disgrace, due to the lies of self-serving men. And those men may live in luxury and die high in man’s esteem. A day of reckoning will come, but for me it may not be on this earth.
It’s also not about my vision or plans. God understands His glory better than I do. If I am faithful, He will use my efforts – but not necessarily in the way I intended them to be used. I need to always remember that it’s never about image, assets or organizations. It’s about love. Only love can guide our steps, motivate our mission, and serve as the measure of our success. If we seek success, joy or God’s favor any other way, we will achieve none.
Trials come when we are faithfully following the steps God puts before us, and it ends up leading us to a place that deviates from our comprehension; when God’s perfect plans and desires don’t line up with our imperfect ones, however sincere we are about them. Serving God requires that we persevere through such trials, and we are blessed when we do.
Perseverance must finish its work, and that can be a life-long challenge. Facing the beginning of a trial is like facing the planting of an unwanted seed in the garden we’re trying to grow. When it’s just a seed it can be easy to accept. It’s small, hidden, and doesn’t affect our plans that much. True perseverance means facing not just that seed, but being willing to accept the eventual existence of the mature plant, even if that plant grows to choke off everything we had hoped for. We must be willing to tend to that unwanted plant as if it were the one we intended.
Put differently, when we have mapped out a path to a desired destination, it’s easy to be content following an alternate path when we believe it to be a temporary detour. But when that alternate path leads further and further in a different direction – and we realize that it’s not a detour after all, but instead is taking us to another destination entirely – can we be content with that?
We must find joy and contentment in the pursuit of God’s plans and desires, not our own. If Jesus could end his earthly life on the cross, tortured as a common criminal and betrayed by everyone he knew and trusted, how much more can we expect?
Let love guide your steps, take it one step at a time, find joy in obedience and nothing else, trust that Father knows best … and persevere.