Have you ever noticed when planning a trip of any kind, everyone becomes a tour guide? You have to go there. You have to eat here. The best shops are in “whatever” town. A lot of the time, you welcome their advice on this unchartered territory. Sometimes, though, you’re going “wherever” for a specific reason. There’s something that caused you to select this destination to begin with. Pretty soon, you’ve gotten so much advice from people that the original trip doesn’t even remotely look like the trip you planned to begin with. You need to step back, look at all the information and re-evaluate. The original “plan” seems to have gotten lost in all the planning!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT) Ok. So we know God’s plans are for good. Why do we think we need to add to or take away from His decisions? We like the idea of smooth sailing. We would call that good. But not everything in the Christian walk is smooth sailing. Yet, God still assures us that it will work out for our good. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28 NLT). Why do we question His goodness when things get tough? We, as humans, don’t like to suffer in any way, shape or form. We don’t even like having to stop at traffic lights! When the waves get high, we start saying to ourselves and maybe others, “this isn’t how it’s supposed to be!” Our character, as God’s children, is way too important for Him to ignore our shortcomings. We’re of no use to a fallen world if we cannot relate to people in their time of hardship. Unfortunately, experience is the best teacher. We have to be passionate about pointing them to the very One who got us through our time of need. As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend (Proverbs 27:17 NLT). This is God’s plan. This is how He operates. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:17 NLT). So, yes, suffering is part of His plan.
There’s a certain Biblical example that always seems to be noted for his suffering. This individual’s name was Job. If you’re not familiar with Job’s story, I encourage you to read it. This guy suffered! And like us with “planning”, people came and offered advice and suggestions. However, they did not have the answers. God, all along, was the answer. This hardship was part of God’s plan. We still mention Job today for his steadfastness in suffering. Have you ever heard someone say “He has the patience of Job”? At the end of the trial, The Lord and Job conversed. Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.” (Job 42:1-3 NLT) We have no idea why God allows certain things to happen but we have to trust His heart. Remember? His plans are for our good. He’s already promised that.
In closing, just a reminder if you’re going through a tough time right now…God is for you! He will not leave you in your time of distress. In fact, He will be right there in the midst. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you (Isaiah 43:2 NLT). What a promise! God loves you. You’re His prized possession. He’s working in you to produce your character. The goal is to become more like Jesus. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later (Romans 8:18 NLT). You will make it! Hang on and stick to the plan.
Today’s writer is Brandi Crowe. A hairdresser for over 25 years, she is currently the owner of Brandi Crowe salon in Buford, GA. She loves hiking, a good cup of coffee, and spending time with family and friends. Brandi lives in a custom farmhouse with her husband Robby and cat Harold.