Wednesday, February 12, 2014

When the Road Before You Seems Unclear

This week, I talked to two women facing unclear futures.

One was a student in her senior year of college. She asked for prayer on Twitter. When we talked in person the next day, she confessed that her unknown future was spiraling her into panic.

 “I’ve always known what lies ahead,” she explained. “Now I don’t.”

My other friend confessed over lunch that she had too many different options ahead of her – equally compelling and frightening. She had returned to college as an adult and pursued her degree while raising children, commuting, and even helping arrange her daughter’s wedding. She had been crazy busy. Now that she had finally graduated, she was looking ahead to what was next. More school? Work? The choices were bewildering.

I can relate so well because I have been there. I always preferred to have a plan, a road map for my future. I liked being in school and knowing what my next assignment would be. I like looking forward to specific events, the planning. I’m motivated by the anticipation of a set future.

What scares me the most is when my personal road map is uncertain. The fuzziness scares me.

Last year, as I anticipated a change in my 16-year career and even a possible out-of-state move, I felt frozen by my uncertain future. It is at those times that I am most compelled to pray. I would pray to God as I drove the 20-minutes to my commuter train station.

My prayers were disjointed, breathy, even desperate.

“Show me what to do next.”
 “Help me see what is best.”
 “Can you just give me answers?”
 “I need a plan, now!”

I was impatient to know what was next. I hated moving forward blindly. It made me feel out of control. But the truth was, and is, I am not in control.

One of my favorite Bible passages is Psalm 32:7,8, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” That verse has been a tremendous comfort to me during times of uncertainty. It says that when I am scared, I do not need to rely on my own strength or capability. But, neither do I need to cower in fear. I can hide in God and go to Him as my source of protection and deliverance (vs. 7).

He is enough. The reason that God can be our source of comfort (really the only true source!) is found in verse 8. God is instructing me and teaching me in the way I should go. He knows already. He is guiding me. I just have to wait, be patient and follow. The other wonderful part of this verse is that God knows me and my specific situation.

He sees my worried heart. He knows our secret longings. He is working in our lives to order our steps. He will not let us do this alone.

 God knows our future, even when we don’t.

And that, my dear friends, is enough. It is more than enough.
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