2018 was such a difficult year. But I can’t help but point to God as the good and faithful author of a story that I would never have wanted to play a part in unless he had written me into it. As we were walking (or maybe I should say limping) through 2018, I found myself frustrated as I doubted God's character time and time again. Was he really good? Was he faithful if he walked us through difficult seasons?
This post is rooted in years of questions and doubts about whether or not I was truly following the “calling” of the Lord on my life. I pray that the words I share are encouraging to you. “We are all tempted to want to do something important, but who are we to say what is important and what is not? Every person we engage is an eternal soul and every moment is one that can be leveraged for the sake of your spiritual growth and for the sake of the Gospel.”
We serve a God who is in the business of redeeming every single painful and heartbreaking moment for a grand and glorious and eternal purpose. And what a beautiful thing it is to be able to trust in the fruit that He is growing in us because of this light and momentary suffering.
Yes there is freedom in financial peace, but there is even more freedom in trusting God fully whether your bank account is empty or full. Yes there is a benefit to having a retirement fund so that you can serve God freely after you stop working, but there is even more benefit to sacrificially and regularly giving of what you have, whether your gifts are large or small. In the act of open-handedly holding your finances before God, you are invited to a level of trust and intimacy with Him that is so incredibly beautiful.
I drop a load of heavy grocery bags on the kitchen counter and walk out the front door to grab the last of the bags. I look back over my shoulder at our two-year-old puppy as he tilts his head at me, asking me (in his adorable dog-way) where I'm going. "Sit....... Stayyyyy," I say. These are daily words in the Bowerman household as we try to train Chief, our adorable rescue pup.
In asking me to stay, God expanded my understanding of missions to be not just going to an overseas country to share the love of Christ, but rather leveraging any opportunity or situation to make disciples and share the gospel where I am.
You know that feeling when you literally have no idea how something is going to work out? When you know there's a "next step" that's coming but you have no idea what it is? When the deadline to have things figured out is just a month (or a week) away? When people ask you "what's next" and you can't answer because it feels like there's just this big black empty void of a black hole ahead of you that will swallow you if you get too close?
Do you ever have those days when everything seems to be crumbling? When things are just falling apart left and right and you don’t have the strength to hold it together anymore? When it seems like everything is just too much and you want to give up?
I've examined my life more deeply, I've realized that sometimes the way I live and the things I feel don't necessarily line up with the things I say I believe to be true about God. The fear and guilt and insecurity and doubt that are almost daily present in my life reveal to me that I am not always believing.
...regardless of what is happening in my life [or my feeling that nothing is happening in my life], God is still on His throne. So even when I don’t know what is ahead I can rest in his sovereignty, cling to His character, and walk daily in obedience. I can stop seeking for direction or clarity and start seeking to live a life of abandon right where I am to the glory of God. I can find rest in who God is...
As humans we naturally think that we are so self sufficient and that our faith is something we can manufacture on our own. But it’s not! And praise the Lord for that because there’s no way we can sustain our faith on our own. I try so hard to figure out the secret to resting and trusting the Lord and it’s so simple...
He is faithful. He is utterly dependable. He is the antithesis of everything fickle and fluctuating. He is constant. He never changes. He is faithful always, no matter what my circumstances are. IN ALL THINGS He is holy and sovereign and good. He is faithful even when I am unfaithful. He is faithful to fulfill His purpose for me. He is faithful to fulfill all of His promises. I have no more reason to doubt His faithfulness than to doubt His very nature and being.
But when you feel like you're searching blindly for the next step on the path, when you're not sure if or how the Lord will provide, when you don't see how your daily monotonous living is bringing Him glory, when you wake up every day with more questions and you are no closer to the answers than you were the day before, well... then it's harder to say every day, "Yes Lord, I trust You. Yes Lord, You are faithful."
So often I spend so much of my time looking ahead, asking the Lord where He is leading me, demanding that He guide me along the path that He has for me. All the while I find myself losing sight of…Him.
To be honest, this has been one of the hardest semesters of my life. I've been overwhelmed at times with loneliness, confusion, fear, insecurity, and inadequacy. I've had quite a few moments where I've doubted everything. So many negative thoughts have plagued my mind: “What in the world are you doing?” “You aren't smart enough for seminary.” “How do you expect this all to work out?”