Planning On Faithfulness
God’s faithfulness is not designed to anticipate in detail. Abraham did not know specifically where God was leading him. Paul didn’t always know exactly where God was leading him on his missionary journey. Many others in the Bible find themselves being led by God into unknown situations. And as someone who parks in the same spot at work every day, balances my checking account to the penny every month, and gets ready in the exact same order every morning, I find that not being able to anticipate the details of God’s faithfulness is difficult.
I’ve volunteered with Christ’s Church student ministry since 2013 and recently attended some of my students’ high school graduation. As I sat in the bleachers, I recalled that six years prior (to the exact day), in 2012, I had been sitting on the field in their seats as a graduating senior. And the past six years have transpired quite differently than I would have predicted at that time. I’m a tax accountant, which I never thought I’d be—accounting wasn’t even my major as I started college. Many of my friendships look different—some new, some deeper, and some that have significantly less communication nowadays. When I started volunteering in the student ministry, I shortsightedly (and arrogantly) expected God to primarily change the students by working through me—and over these past five years, God has shaped me by going through life with them. I’ve had conversations I never expected and not had conversations I expected. I’ve failed in some ways I didn’t see coming and succeeded in some ways I didn’t think were possible. Not everything has been unexpected, but many moments have. And I am confident of this: God is faithful.
I don’t think it’s bad to make plans and set goals (though it’s important to do that in the context of spending time in the Word and prayer), but I think it’s easy to turn plans and goals into rubrics of God’s faithfulness that don’t measure the right things. God has a flawless record of keeping His promises. And those promises likely don’t include a timeline of every job you’ll ever have, person you’ll ever meet, medical issue you need to anticipate, and everything else in between. But His promises do include, among many things, that He works out all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), that His Spirit is with us and guides us (John 14 & 16), and that surely He is with us always (Matthew 28:20). We can rest confidently in a God who is actively guiding us and forever loving us. He has conquered everything that needed to be destroyed and is the keeper of everything worth having.
John Piper has one of my favorite quotations of all time, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” This doesn’t mean that God is primarily concerned with our happiness or that we can do whatever we want and simply thank God for it. Rather, it is a reverent submission that though I may want more information, different circumstances, and/or less confusion, He is good, He is truth, and He is worthy of our praise and obedience. Who He is is enough for us.
Will I ever be married? I don’t know. Will I live in this area for the rest of my life? I don’t know. But I know that looking back over the past six years and earlier than that, as the song Reckless Love powerfully and simply proclaims, God has been so, so good to me. Even when I didn’t understand what was going on and the outcomes weren’t what I expected. Even when things did go well I looked away from God and tried to find hope in my circumstances rather than Him. He is patient, forgiving, and constantly shaping us to be more like Him. He is enough for us and worthy of our complete surrender. He is faithful.