I was listening to Part 3 of the current Acts study and was struck by not only the “unstoppable progress of the Gospel,” but also the unstoppable progress of God’s will. In the story of Saul’s conversion in Acts, Chapter 9, Jan shared her insight that God was working on 2 fronts at the same time: the conversion of Saul (to Paul), and simultaneously the preparation of Ananias to restore Saul’s vision and pray for his filling by the Holy Spirit.
This is often the case in our lives. God is working on many fronts and we may only see a bit of His great plan, the weaving of what Holly referred to as God’s tapestry. We do need to pay attention (as was said in the study) to what God is doing in our lives. But most often, what we can see, what He chooses to reveal at a given moment, doesn’t even seem to us to have anything to do with God’s plan, because we haven’t seen the big picture, the finished tapestry. This is where faith comes in.
Many years ago, I quit my job because of significant stressors arising from said job. I felt really guilty, as a lot of training and education went into my attaining this job. I really did not think God wanted me to quit, but I was so depressed and stressed that I hated going to work to a job I once loved, (some parts of which I still loved). I had prayed and prayed and saw no clear answer over the course of several years. Then one day, my “Ananias” called to ask how I was. I burst out crying on the phone, as I had had a particularly difficult and complicated night the evening before. I told my friend I needed a “mental health day.” Wisely, she asked me to explain what I meant by that. I told her how unhappy I was, how much I had prayed about quitting or staying, and how I did not hear a clear answer either way from God. My friend’s sage advice, prompted by the Holy Spirit, I am sure, was “Sometimes you have to take the first step in faith and see where God leads.”
Walking out in faith, I served my notice at my job. I was so relieved just knowing there was an end in sight.
That same year my father died. My mother (in her late 70s) was living in a very large house with a lot of up-keep required. She was also taking care of my low-functioning autistic brother, who was a handful. My other 2 brothers and 2 sisters and I took turns trying to encourage my mother to move in with one of us. She resisted.
Then, one day, she agreed to move in with my husband and me if she could have her own part of the house. She didn’t want anyone else to have to deal with my brother’s difficult times. Having now “retired,” I had plenty of time to scope out new housing situations, as our current home did not have a place to add on an in-law suite. That would never have happened if I were still working my sometimes 100-hr a week job. Ah, a part of the tapestry I hadn’t seen being woven in at first.
After we built a house with an in-law suite and moved in together, Mom later admitted that she had finally decided she needed to move in with someone else because of an incident she hadn’t relayed to any of us before. She had gone to the local hospital to have some out-patient x-rays. Of course, my brother went with her. When called back for her study, she told him to stay in his seat; she would be out in a few minutes. When she returned a few minutes later, he was not in the waiting area and nowhere near by. You have to understand, my brother can’t even tell you his name, nor is he capable of asking for help. Thanks to God and hospital security, my brother was found in another waiting area, just sitting in a chair. That was when Mom realized she needed help and agreed to moving in together.
In so much of our lives, God is working behind the scenes, revealing only what He chooses to reveal to us of His plan. But oh, how wonderfully omniscient is God! How perfectly He plans and knows the big picture; how perfectly reliable and unchanging is He. He has sent His Son and the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us peace. Just trust him.
“…the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6b