Not too recently, my husband and I went through a “scare.” When we got married we both discussed our ideal plan for having children. Since we’re going to be missionaries, traveling between several different countries in the first few years, and committing ourselves to up to 10 hours of language training a day, we decided that to be the best parent possible we would delay having children for a few years. But, we also knew God has His plan which could definitely be different than ours. God could plan for us to have children much earlier than we were planning but we always said we would be okay with it and trust the Lord.
Then we had a pregnancy “scare.” Our ideal plan looked like it was blown to pieces and I began to freak out. I said, “There goes any chance of me learning the language well because I’m going to have a baby to take care.” And then it was, “Now we’re going to be delayed from going to our country for a year….Now everything is messed up.” Throughout the weeks of thinking everything was ruined because of a future baby, the Lord began to work in my heart. I began to face the reality of God’s plans while holding a friend’s new 1 month old baby girl. I looked into the face of one of the most precious children of God and realized if the Lord wanted me to have my own baby, he or she would be a blessing. I began to embrace the “interruption” to my plans and see it as a thing to rejoice over. I began to find joy in God’s will for my life— motherhood, not just be ‘okay’ with it.
The very next day the Lord revealed that motherhood was not in our cards at the moment. Our man-made plans were still intact, yet I couldn’t but feel disappointed. I had finally begun to get excited about a baby and then the Lord said, “Not yet.” I had to ask Him, “Why did you put me through all these weeks of stress, wondering, and freaking out?” Then I felt Him say to me, “I wanted to see if you would trust me and rejoice in my will or if it was just words?”
I think it can be safely said that most people have gone through some sort of “scare” in their lives, something that interrupts/ruins their plans, and tests whether their words of affection for God are really the actions of their heart. For some women it’s finding out their child has been diagnosed with a debilitating disease. For some, it’s losing a job and moving across country to an uncertain situation. For others it could be losing the man they thought would be “the one.”
Maybe you know God’s will is perfect and good, maybe you’ve finally learned to trust Him, but how do you begin to rejoice and be glad about His will? How do you begin to take that next step towards being content in all circumstances? (2 Cor.12:10)
Tests, while they may not feel like it in the moment, are a good thing. They’re good for your faith, your character, but more importantly, your relationship with God. The more tests God puts your through the more opportunities you have to experience His faithfulness, His love, and His grace. You’re able to know you can trust Him throughout everything and His will is something you can find contentment in. Tests are what give you the discernment to know God’s good and perfect will. (Rom.12:2)
The tests He brings in your life also build your faith and perfect your faith to make you look more like Christ! (1 Pet.1:6-7) God doesn’t test you to bring you down, but to build you up! He desires for your faith to be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (Jam.1:2-3) His will is for your good and His glory which are both things to rejoice about!
How do the most graceful, Christ-filled people act when going through trials and tribulations? They are still full of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, but most importantly, they share Christ with those around them. They permeate everything that is the essence of Jesus Christ. They trust in their Savior and desire for His name to be proclaimed, no matter what it costs them! Even through the pain and suffering they find joy in their Savior!
Look at Jesus himself: He was beaten, persecuted, mocked, and murdered, but through it all He still rejoiced in the Father’s will! Even when it caused Him physical, emotional, and spiritual pain, He found contentment in the Father’s plan. (Lk.10:21) Now one could say, “Well it’s easy to use Jesus as an example because He was God, He was perfect.” Thankfully, God also gave us a very human, sinful person as an example of contentment through all circumstances— Paul.
This was a man who was currently in prison for preaching the Gospel, who had been beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, and yet, he learned to be content in ALL circumstances! (Phil.4:11) How could he rejoice through such awful experiences and tell others to rejoice? (Phil. 4:4) Paul knew Christ was being proclaimed to the lost and being glorified in the world, which was all he needed to rejoice. (Phil.1:18) His heart wasn’t focused on what was being ruined in his life but what was being accomplished for the Lord.
Have “Your Best Life Now”….In God’s Will
Before we thought our parenting plans were being thrown out the window, we always said we trusted God’s will for our lives and were completely okay with whatever the Lord had planned. But boy, did I ever find out how my sinful heart truly felt when God put my words to the test! If I had truly trusted in Him with our parenting plans then my heart’s first reaction would have been rejoicing. My heart would have been glad because I truly trusted that God’s will was best for my life. (Ps.33:21) Instead, it took awhile for my heart to find contentment in God’s will because I hadn’t really trusted Him with this part of my life, I hadn’t really surrendered to His will.
Different circumstances that come into your life will bring about different emotions: shock, grief, sadness, happiness, anger, relief, etc. Those can be normal reactions to the good and bad experiences we have but how long does it take for your heart and your faith to kick in? How long does it take for your faith in God to say “I trust in His will and I can rejoice no matter what the Lord brings my way?”
Even when all seems dark, when everything seems to be falling apart, the Lord is your strength and your salvation; He sets you free and lifts you up! (Hab.3:17-19) That is a God who you can trust and a God to rejoice in because He’s a God who’s planning the best for your life!
Live With HOPE
When you’re wondering why you lost your job, why your child is suffering, or why there’s been an interruption in your career, know, dear sister, that there is hope! We have hope in Christ who saved us and is working to transform us into His likeness! He is constantly working for His glory and your good so rejoice in that hope! (Rom.12:12) Our hearts should be rejoicing always, not pouting, not worrying, and not throwing a spiritual tantrum.
“Do not pray as those who are without hope- that’s just worrying on your knees.” RC Sproul Jr.
When the rough times hit, go to the Lord in hope and rejoicing even when you don’t know what’s going to happen next or even how you’re going to make it, continue in your faith, clinging to the hope you have in Jesus Christ! (Col.1:23)
Be content in all circumstances and rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS! (Ps.42:5;71:14; Lam.3:24;Rom.5:2; 1 Thess.5:16) because you have a Savior who lives, who reigns, and who is on your side! He is your Hope, He is your salvation so rejoice! Rejoice in His movement in your life! Rejoice that He is working in this world for His glory and your good! Rejoice because Christ is being proclaimed through your life, your suffering, your pain to a lost and dying world! You have HOPE, sister and this is my prayer for you:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Rom. 15:13