As my time here as a student missionary is rapidly coming to a close, I’m frantically trying to make plans and figure out what I’m going to do next year. I’ve changed since I’ve been here and I’m not going back to the US to do the same thing I was before I left. As a result, I have a lot of paperwork to do and forms to fill out to rearrange everything. It’s weighing heavily on me to get everything done, but I’m not sure what I want to do. It’s very stressful.
Because of all that was on my mind, when I remembered that I had to speak for vespers, I decided to address this topic. It was very encouraging! Here is what I learned and what encouraged me the most.
In Proverbs 16:9 it says, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” That was encouraging for me because I have made a lot of plans in my life. Right now I have several possibilities that I’m trying to incorporate into my “plan.” But if God wants me to go somewhere, He will tell me, whether or not it fits into my plan. Further down in Proverbs 16:33 it says, “We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.” God has a purpose and a plan and everything that we do works out according to His plan. So I’m better off just letting Him do the planning in the first place.
That sounds easy. Just let God do His thing and tag along. Much easier said than done. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 20:24, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” Things always seem so confusing. But it’s God’s plan, so why do I need to understand it? It’s a big opportunity to develop my faith. It’s God’s plan; He knows what He’s doing so I’m just going to close my eyes and follow. Like it says in Isaiah 30:21, “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.” I need to learn to not be afraid to trust God. He’s not going to leave me hanging. He will guide me.
The hardest part is for me to know His voice.
I need to have such a good relationship with Him that I can recognize His voice.
Once I know that, He will tell me the way to go.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to trust God. When He doesn’t work on my timetable, I get worried and frustrated. But He tells me in Matthew 6:34, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” He knows just how much we can handle and if He actually left me to figure it out all on my own I would be overwhelmed. Instead He tells me not to worry and to trust in Him. One of my favorite authors says that we should just do what God has set before us and let Him handle the rest.
The final promise that I received is what makes all of this hard work worthwhile (aside from the fact that I don’t have to worry any more!). I need to remember that God knows what is best for me. It shouldn’t be any trouble for me to give my plans to God because He knows me even better than I know myself and His plans will be much more satisfying for me than my own plans. In Isaiah 60, God promises Israel that He will gather all their children from the far lands and that Israel’s enemies will come bowing before them. He says that they will be the center and all the wealth in the world will come to their land. He basically promises them the world. That’s much more than anything that I could even imagine for myself.
God knows us better than we know ourselves. By placing our futures into His hands we not only free ourselves from worry, but we develop a deeper faith in God and are subject to the many blessings He has planned for us. We are in for a future more grand and fulfilling than we ever imagined.
Author Katelyn Pauls is a student missionary in Thailand.