Things didn’t fall easily and simply into place, but during this time, I finally got around to reading The Circle Maker. While reading, I remember flipping a couple pages together accidentally. The result caused a group of sentences that started with “Never underestimate the power of one prayer circle. When you dream big, pray hard, and think long, there is nothing…” to abruptly end on a subsequent blank page.
Confused, I laughed. It feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it? We pray, we work, and still on the surface nothing seems to be happening.
The obvious problem with trying to fit God’s plan into our own that is that His plan is exponentially too big to fit into any tiny plan that any of us could ever come up with. Our disproportionate plans need to be turned inside out because it’s the only way we can learn to let God fill us. Long before all this, long before I’d even graduated, I had wanted God to be someone who’d lead me on a path that was predictable, had student loans paid off, had a 9-5 job with benefits. Those things in themselves aren’t bad things, but any good thing that displaces God becomes an idol.
I had a simple goal of wanting to provide for my needs and the needs of my family through what I’d believed to be God’s call on my life. It wasn’t a bad goal, but it was a limiting one. In essence I was saying, “Lord, I’ll trust you insofar that what You’re calling me to is accomplishable in my ability and on my terms.”
My god had been security.
My god had been avoiding risks.
Those aspirations were rooted in fear, not faith.
In reality, I’m following after a God who’s been known to say things that sound like “go someplace—far away from everything you know—that I will tell you about,” “build something that won’t really make sense to anyone you know but Me,” “lead My people out of circumstances that seem too big to overcome,” “cross the sea on dry ground.”
He’s also known to break idols.
Not every difficult circumstance that happens means that God is being a disciplinarian parent—certainly not. Consider Job. Consider 1 Peter 8:11. Life is sometimes just hard. But understand that if (or rather when) difficult circumstances happen, allowing yourself to be teachable, to be pruned, means that you’re willing to walk through a desert season so that you can learn the difference between a life-giving spring and a mirage. God knows the hearts of His children. Like I’d heard phrased in a sermon years ago, the greatest insult His kids could ever receive isn’t discipline, it’s indifference.
No matter the circumstances you might find yourself in, God’s heart for you is always to draw you closer to Him. When that happens, you can always trust that God is shaping you and forming you into a new creation, a new person. His holy strategy is capable of taking the easy, the difficult, the good, and the bad—and working them together for His purposes and your good.
This is part 20 of 31 in a personal story participating in the Write 31 Days Challenge. To start at the beginning or to see all the posts in order, click here. If you want to follow along, follow on social media or subscribe as a reader to Eclectic Affinity.
[If you’re wondering—and for what it’s worth—I really liked Mark’s book. If you’ve got some big dreams (and I hope you do), it’s worth a read. Not even going to put an affiliate link. Seriously–look it up.]
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