His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts,
(Isaiah 55:9 NIV).
Steve and I got married when we were both still in college. He was entering his fourth year of dental school, and I was just a few hours shy of completing my degree. The last year of school held many important decisions for us, such as where Steve would set up his practice. Dentists don’t tend to move about, so this was an important, probably life-long decision for both of us.
All year we prayed, researched, and weighed various opportunities and options. Finally, in April of that year, we felt God calling us to Pineville, North Carolina, right outside of Charlotte. A dentist there was looking for a young associate and the pieces of the puzzle began falling into place. We had prayed. We had fasted. We had listened. We felt that this was God’s answer for our lives. It was a big deal.
So after graduation, we packed our meager belongings and moved to Charlotte. After setting up house in our tiny apartment, Steve went to meet with the doctor to finalize the work schedule and management particulars.
“Steve,” I’ve been thinking about it,” the doctor began, “and I don’t think this is such a good idea after all. I’ve changed my mind.”
He extended his hand to my twenty-five-year-old stunned husband and said, “Good luck to you, son.”
I was surprised when Steve came home much earlier than I expected. “What are you doing home?” I asked.
“Sit down,” he managed, “You’re not going to believe this.”
Steve told me the story and I was shocked. I was disappointed. A host of raw emotions collided with questions for God. How could You do this? How could we have been so wrong? Didn’t we hear You correctly? We prayed. We fasted. We wanted nothing more than to do what You wanted us to do, where You wanted us to do it. Now here we sit in a big city, with a big student loan, and no job. Now what are we supposed to do?
This was a lover’s quarrel between me and God, my friend, and guess whose voice was the loudest? I felt as though I had kept my part of the bargain by following all the right steps and saying all the right words, but God had not kept His.
Somehow, we’ve come up with the absurd idea that God owes us. That He is obliged to reveal Himself in a way that is acceptable…that fosters belief. If we do A and B, then He is obliged to do C. He’s not. One glance at Job chapters 38-41 puts my silly demands in proper perspective. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” God questioned Job. “Who marked off its dimensions? Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness? Have you ever given orders to the morning or shown the dawn its place? (Job 38:4, 8-9, 12). (If you haven’t read those chapters lately, they are a great reminder of God’s magnificent glory.)
This career setback seems rather petty now as I hear of the tragic losses from hundreds of women who write to me every day. But I have discovered that the accumulations of petty disappointments tend to undermine our faith like little termites gnawing away at the foundation of our lives. They can leave us doubting whether or not God is really concerned about the everyday details of our lives. A lava flow of doubt covers over our faith and we wonder, why should I pray at all?[tweetherder][/tweetherder]Our limited vision doesn’t allow us to see how God is working behind the scenes in our lives. But we must believe that He is.
Each and every trial is an opportunity to trust Him more. Jean-Pierre de Caussade said it well: “You would be very ashamed if you knew what experiences you call setbacks, upheavals, pointless disturbances, and tedious annoyances really are. You would realize that your complaints about them are nothing more nor less than blasphemies—though that never occurs to you. Nothing happens to you except by the will of God, and yet beloved children curse it because they do not know it for what it is.” [tweetherder][/tweetherder]His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).
Join me tomorrow as I share what happened in the months following what we felt was a setback.
Lord, help me to remember that You always have a plan. When life takes an unexpected turn, help me to remember that it is not unexpected to You. I’m holding on to Your hand, and going around the next corner with You. In Jesus’ Name,Amen.
What do You Think?
Today, read Job 38-41 and sum up what You learn about God in one word or one sentence.
Let’s compare notes. Leave a comment or click over to my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes
Today’s devotion was taken from my newest book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More. Disappointments are chock full of miracle moments…or at least they can be. If you need to have your eyes open to glory moments where God makes His presence known, then this book will help open your eyes to see Him, your ears to hear Him, and your heart to experience His love… even in life’s most disappointing times. And if you need a boost trusting God during those dark times, see our Girlfriends in God devotion book,Trusting God– a 12-week devotional that will strengthen your faith.