By Tabitha Caplinger
*originally posted on tabithacaplinger.com
My (Tab’s) sweet Mama sent me this post. It is from a Sunday School Lesson she taught and I love the message. Often we have moments in life where we have tried all we know and it isn’t working, or we simply don’t know what to do to get out of the dark tunnel and back into the light. When we don’t know what to do, we aren’t alone. God knows!
One of the most difficult, and yet most powerful lessons we can learn in our life’s journey is that God will make a way for us through our pain and trials if we call on Him for help. You may be clueless about what to do, but God knows exactly what to do and when to do it.
Sometimes we feel “stuck” between our disappointing circumstances and our hopes and dreams. You can trust God to be present with you when you are going through horrible things. God will make a way for you!
Here is where things sometimes get difficult…most people can’t see God’s way because they have trouble believing there is a way. They fail to believe there is a path out of their particular trial or tragedy of life. But there is when you follow these steps.
1. Begin your journey with God.
It all starts with Him. It is not about our way, but His. It’s not about our perspective, but His. Often we try and fail, to find our way out of pain and trials because we are trying to do it our way when we need to be doing it His way. (Hebrews 11:8, 2 Corinthians 5:7)
The story of Abraham is a good one to think about here. He packed up his belongings and had no idea where he was going. But He believed God! He didn’t just believe God, HE NEEDED GOD in order to succeed in his journey.
The fact that you desperately need God in your life is not a sign of weakness. We are designed for dependence on God. That may be counterintuitive at times and definitely counter-cultural but it’s true. And God will provide what you need.
2. God makes the way, but we have a part to play.
Most people do one or two things when they don’t know what to do…
1) They repeat the thing that didn’t work the first time, or…
2) they stop trying and just give up. They quit.
Please remember that sometimes God’s way will be truly miraculous and sometimes it will be hard work, growth and change on our part. It will mean you have to do something, and not necessarily what you want to do, or what feels comfortable or convenient.
God will show us the steps to take, but we have to take them. Beware, those steps won’t always be what you thought they would or should. (James 2:14-26)
3. Choose your traveling companions wisely.
Your journey with God is not intended to be a solo flight. Successful people that make it to the top usually don’t make it alone. Whether it be in sports, education, counseling, or spiritual advisors, they were not alone.
Part of the way God takes care of you, or makes a way for you, is to put good people around you to help you get where you need to go. Some of these people will show up in your life while others you have to seek out on your own. Be wise and intentional with the friends who get to come alongside you as a support system. (1 Corinthians 15:33, Proverbs 13:20)
Look for the following in your friends:
* Support– someone to help you carry the load when things are tough.
* Prayer – someone that doesn’t just say they are praying for you, but who really is.
* Love– As my son-in-law says, you need someone that loves you and loves Jesus.
* Honesty & Wisdom -someone who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth, even if it isn’t what you want to hear, and they will correct you if you are wrong.
* Experience– someone that has been where you are and knows and understands what you are going through.
* Accountability– Cars and airplanes have gauges that constantly report the status of the engine and warn us when something goes wrong. Companies are audited to inform directors of needed corrections. (I have been an Auditor and believe me there is always something that could be detrimental if not corrected). In the same way we need to be held accountable by those who will monitor us and are interested enough to ask tough questions.
We learn from others and we need their support. Stay close to people who share your values. You cannot journey God’s way without risk and fear, but there is safety in numbers. You need people close to you to encourage and build you up so you can face those fears, and not give up.
Who in your life is there for you and not afraid to tell you the truth? Who will cry with you and pray for you? Who will stop you when you are headed for trouble?
(Caution: There are usually two kinds of people around us. 1) those who are growing personally and 2) those who are going nowhere. Do not entrust your heart to people that are stagnant or going backward. They will kill your dreams.)
Life is a journey. It is full of joy but also can bring pain and struggle. Following God doesn’t remove us from the trouble but it does give us a path to take to find healing, freedom and peace. When we hit a rough bit of road we can look to God, trust His path, lean on His strength while we take the steps He is directing us toward, and surround ourselves with godly friends who will support, encourage and challenge us to keep going.