How to Deal with Difficult Changes and Challenges
After over a year and a half of schooling, months of stressing, weeks of waiting, and days and nights of praying my husband is now officially a firefighter EMT. The excitement and relief in our home are palpable. We have anticipated for and planned in the hope that he would become a firefighter EMT and praise God for answering our prayers. We are so thankful this vision is now a reality. But what if it hadn't happened? What if getting this firefighter position hadn't been God's plan? Would I still be praising the goodness of God? Would I still trust in His plan? Or would I let the change in plan crush my spirit and go into the darkness of hopelessness, constant worry and stress?
Though this plan in our life has come to fruition, this will not always happen.
We can plan and over plan every detail in our lives, but that doesn't mean that everything will go according to plan.
Many events in my life did not go according to plan, and I am thankful for that in hindsight. Still, stirring up in my mind is the question of how I would deal with a significant change in my life plan, God has also put this issue on my heart. Will I always put my trust in Him? Will I lean on His understanding and not my own? Will I believe in Him to meet my every need? Will I always esteem His goodness?
The truth is that I do not know how I would have taken it if my husband hadn't gotten the position. I would like to think that I would have accepted it without questioning God and that I would have been confident in whatever God had planned instead. But in my heart, I know that this would not have been my first reaction. I know I would have labeled both the situation and God as unfair. Do I have faith in God and His plan? Yes, but is my faith 100% unshakable and infallible? No.
This undeniable blind trust is an area of my spiritual walk that needs strengthening; I can feel God promoting growth.
Two relatively recent messages at Life.Church helped initiate my thinking on this issue, Christmas 2016 Change of Plans and I Want to Believe But. . . Heartless God When God Doesn't Seem Fair. The summation of the messages, for me, is that in life we will unquestionably encounter alterations and pain but also unquestionable is God's purpose and benevolence. Let me break down this down.
The main Scriptures for the Christmas 2016 Change of Plans message were Matthew 1:18-21 and Proverbs 19:21. Taking into consideration Matthew 1:18-21, Mary and Joseph undoubtedly had their plans, but God had His plan, one that changed the course of history! Though God's plan was not easy for Mary and Joseph and though they did not understand the full significance of it, they both trusted that God was good and His plan was good.
"You don’t have to understand the plan to trust God has a purpose."
The above key point from the message is so right; it is inevitable that our lives will not always go according to plan and there will be times when we do not understand why. However, we do not have to understand the changes to trust that God has a purpose.
The message also included a thought provoking question,
When things go wrong, how do you respond to God? What does this say about your view of God?
I know my answer, and it is an answer that I want to change. I know that God is good all the time and because of this, when things do not go my way I need to rely on God's plan, and I don't need to understand. God's plan will always prevail. This message also included a prayer for when our plans change,
Heavenly Father, You are worth trusting. You have done nothing but make a way for us. Forgive us for when we haven’t trusted You. We invite You to interrupt our plans for Your purpose. Amen.
I love having a prayer template for various situations. We may not all feel like an orator, and this prayer can give us a starting point if we do not know what to pray. This prayer would be great to add to a prayer journal.
To me the second message I Want to Believe But. . . Heartless God, When God Doesn't Seem Fair, builds on the Christmas 2016 Change of Plans message. When a change in plans causes us uncertainty or pain, we may question God's heart. I know that if my husband and not got the firefighter position, in my initial moments of distress, I would have labeled the situation and God unfair. I'm going to come back to this point momentarily.
The message shows that when we find ourselves in times of pain and uncertainty, it is helpful and necessary to know that God has a purpose for the pain and is present in our suffering. The message references some vital Scriptures to illustrate these points, 1 Peter 1:6-7, Psalm 46:1, and 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. Something else to take note of that Pastor Craig says during the message is that
“God doesn't always cause the pain, but God can always use it."
[God] does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
This message also included a prayer for those times of suffering,
God, Your Word says You are our ever-present help in trouble. Will You show Your presence in our pain? Forgive us for when we’ve doubted Your goodness. We believe You have a purpose for us, and You are here with us. Thank You for Your unfair grace to us. Amen.
So I hope to take all these truths to heart and grow from them. I hopefully have a lot of life left to live, and I will go through changes in plans, and I will have pain, but God always has a purpose and is with me through it all, and if I rely on Him, our relationship will become stronger and so will I.
If you follow the links to the Life.Church messages discussed above, there are additional resources.
Yours Truly, LeNae
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