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Next Up

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

God has already provided a pathway for your advancement.

God’s plan is often hard to understand. His own written revelation to humanity explains that God’s “ways [are] past finding out” (Rom. 11:33) and He “hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise” (1 Cor. 1:27). So, if you are as confused as I am about what God is up to, then feel free to join me on my imaginary bench.

The greatest lesson we can ever learn, and the greatest truth we can ever embrace, is to trust in God. The wisest man to ever live wrote, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).

Trust is both a head and heart issue. Cognitively, it is rational to have confidence in the ability of God to manage the affairs of our lives. After all, He only created a universe out of nothing, supernaturally impregnated a virgin, and raised His one and only Son from the dead. If ever there was a candidate for whom we should place our confidence in, God is it.

Most of us do reasonably well on the intellectual side of the equation. Our finite minds can logically conclude that no matter what roadblocks we face or uncertainties we have yet to resolve, God has the power and intelligence to move us forward. He is fully capable because He is all-powerful and all-knowing.

Now after we have settled the matter of if God can, we enter the gut-wrenching trenches of if God will. We struggle affectively with God’s willingness to use His power and wisdom to aid us in our journey. If He has the power to help us but chooses not to help us, then we are no better off. This aspect of trusting in God concerns His character and nature – His all-lovingness. Because God is love (1 John 4:8), everything He does or fails to do is consistent with His nature. If we are honest, we can recall some people and things we wanted that God failed to give us, and we are grateful to this day that His rejection resulted in our protection. Therefore, God’s use of His unlimited power and infinite wisdom is always consistent with His never-ending love and eternal will.

The will of God is what He desires for us according to His eternal purpose and plan for all of creation. He has a grand stage play in which we are actors, along with the angelic host. And while we have been given copies of the broader script, there are details that we have yet to be informed about that exist in His Director’s edition.

Consequently, we must trust in the Lord. His decision to not provide us the full manuscript is because He is a relational God who wants us to know Him intimately, and the only way this can happen is if we stay tethered to Him. Left to ourselves, we would read the Director’s edition and pursue our path without His presence. But it is His presence that makes the journey worth taking (Exod. 33:15-16). Furthermore, knowing the details would not be enough to get us to the end of the process because His power and wisdom are required to handle the antagonists and adversities that litter the path we must travel.

It is, in fact, those oppositional forces that help us to understand just how much God loves us and cares for us. You might ask how? It’s quite simple. God knows what we need and when we need it. And out of His love and compassion for us, He is willing to ensure our safe and successful journey if we rely on Him.

We can either trust in God or lean on our own understanding. Leaning on our own understanding is dangerous because we don’t have all the information. Thus, what we risk leaning on is unstable and unreliable. God, on the other hand, has all the information about our journey and is willing to clear a path before us. He does this because He loves us.

This principle is perfectly illustrated in the life of a man by the name of David (see 1 Sam. 16:1-13). David was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons. One day the prophet Samuel visited Jesse’s house, which was a big deal because Samuel was one of the two top celebrities of his day – King Saul being the other. Samuel had come to Jesse’s house to anoint one of his sons to be Israel’s next king. There was only one problem: David was outside with the sheep. As Samuel examined all of Jesse’s sons in the house, he concluded that God had not selected any of them. He then asked Jesse if he had anymore sons, and Jesse was forced to send for the son he failed to invite to the royal examination. God gave Samuel the approval to anoint David as Israel’s next king, and His plan for David’s life became apparent at that moment.

Reflect on this for a moment: David was a teenager who was trusting in the Lord with all his heart – so much so, that God called him “a man after his own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14). Nowhere in David’s understanding was the possibility of reigning on the throne of Israel. He was just a shepherd boy who longed for the presence of God. But because he trusted in God, the Lord made David’s path clear and directed him into the place he was supposed to be, despite the machinations of his own father.

In the crazy times we are living, there are many prognosticators and pontificators. Maybe they are right. Maybe they aren’t. But one this is certain: If you put your trust in the Lord, He will guide you safely to where you are supposed to be and when you are supposed to be there. I’m not able to tell you what’s up next, but I do know that, like David, you are next up.

Rev. Isaac Hayes is the president of Healing of the Soul Ministries. He is also an Assistant Pastor at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, IL, and a doctoral student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL. Follow Rev. Hayes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @RevIsaacHayes.

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