Spiritual Director · December 19, 2016

Affirm #20

So the big question on my mind today is: how much do I trust God?

Maybe it’s a good question for you to think about today as well. And here’s why I started thinking about it.

God says in Isaiah 58,

“I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places, firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry.” — Isaiah 58:11

God actually says, “I will always show you where to go.” That sounds so good and so comforting, but the problem is, me!

Sometimes I’m just not on God’s timing. It’s not that God and I aren’t on the same page – we’re not in the same library. I want what I want, and I want it now. I don’t want to wait, so I start taking my life into my own hands. I start making bargains with God. I start laying out a fleece before God to make a deal and try to get Him to move on my behalf. I start negotiations with God in my prayers to attempt to get Him to see things my way..

And just so you know… that’s manipulation. I really don’t like that word. It really sounds terrible when I say it out loud. But I said it – because I do it. I manipulate. Maybe you do too.

Listen, I know how to pursue a dream. I know how to go the extra mile. I know how to cast a vision and win people over. Not all of that’s bad. Some of those things are qualities God has gifted me with. But when I start using those gifts to do my own thing, apart from God… when I start pushing past God’s timing, God’s direction, God’s plan – I run into trouble. Big trouble!

There are times I think God lets me push right past Him so that I can have a reality check with my headstrong attitude. More than once I’ve jumped into something I thought I wanted, only to find it more stressful and overwhelming than I ever imagined.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today

You might have great dreams and aspirations… you might willingly go the extra mile… you might be able to cast a vision and win people over… But if it’s only for your desires and not God’s desire, you’re only hurting yourself. Know this: It’s not up to you – It’s up to God. Trust Him! Just wait for Him! Remember, He says, “I will always show you where to go!”

I’m so grateful for Your everlasting love and vision for my life. Help me to embrace the fact that Your plans are greater than mine. Humble my heart in the moments when I try to take control so that I can fully serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.