God’s Plan

Do you ever feel like you’re in a place you’ve never been before and wonder just what exactly are the next steps you need to take from there? I think every one of us have. God showed me some things this past year that have helped me as I’ve navigated through some rather barren landscapes. I hope they’ll be an encouragement to you when you find yourself looking around your life, wondering, “Where on earth am I? What do I do now?”

In January of 2016, I went away by myself for a few days. My father had unexpectedly passed away in October 2015 and we knew that my mother would not be with us much longer. Although I was confident that their times were in God’s hands and that at long last they’d joyfully be seeing the Lord face to face, I could not get a handle on the fact that this moment was now upon us. As I’ve mentioned in previous writings I have lived near my mom and attended church with her since I moved away from home to marry in 1980. The thought of her not being here felt terrifying to me. I had to get away and think.

As my mother’s health declined so did our late night phone calls from lengthy chats to just brief check-ins. Even though I understood that she just wasn’t feeling well enough to talk for very long, the little girl in me flustered with, “Why doesn’t my mother want to talk to me?” It was so foreign that it unsettled me greatly. My heart kept trying to make connection to my mom’s heart but I seemed to be getting a busy signal! I explained the situation to myself over and over but I wouldn’t listen to me! (If you’re gifted with grammar, I ask that you would overlook that last sentence. I realize, it “ain’t right”. It just FEELS right!) There were so many things suddenly intersecting in my life, I knew I had to take a couple of days to just be quiet and hear from God. My world was spinning, knocking my feet out from under me. I fell face down upon the only Rock that can’t be shaken. Jesus, the Rock of Ages, is a shelter to all who come to Him. His arms are still wide open!

I’d like to share with you one of the things that the Lord gave me to hold onto that January as I walked through a very difficult season in my life. I’m still on that long stretch of road but holding onto this piece of truth has given me strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I hope it will be an encouragement to you as I know that we ALL go through some rather dark valleys. You may be there now. So, let’s take a look!

There were two scriptures in particular that the Lord caused to leap off of the pages as I was asking Him to speak to me in this time of storm. The first one was, Isaiah 42:9; “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” I could certainly grasp that. I also had a sense of expectation in what God would “announce” to me about the new things to come. So, I read on. How profound it was to discover Isaiah 43:18 &19; “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” I knew for sure that I was to tuck this away as a pocket full of promise for the days ahead. At the moment, I was having trouble “perceiving” ANYthing as my life seemed to be spinning like a tornado all around me. But, I left my quiet place to head home, holding white knuckled to my trust that God would give me direction in the days ahead.

My mother, indeed, went home to be with the Lord within short time. That was 8 months ago but it still feels surreal. My heart keeps looking for her, preferring to believe she’s laying down. I still can’t think of her as really being gone as it feels too much.

Several months into this mind spinning sojourn of grief, I tried to put into words how I was feeling as I was talking to the Lord. “I feel completely lost. I have no idea where I am. I don’t know the direction to start walking toward. I feel like I am in a desert with tufts of dead grass littering the parched, sandy landscape. I don’t recognize where I am. Nothing is familiar. I don’t know what to do. It’s like I’m in a barren wilderness.” Hold on a minute…. Something sparked to life in me as I was describing this place. Isaiah 43! I took a closer look at what I had forgotten was in my pocket!

“Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

There it was!! The place I felt like I was in! This horrible desert wilderness and wasteland! I was so freshly amazed and in awe of the detailed personal care of God to me, His much loved daughter, that I burst into tears! Yes, yes, indeed! God knew EXACTLY where I was! He knew the place I was headed to, giving me Word ahead of time so I would have faith and confidence in God’s continued good care and direction for my life! Oh how He loves us so! I knew that there was more to be seen and discovered in this promise given to me from God so I researched the definitions to some of the key words on this verse in Isaiah. I want to show them to you as they will be like a refreshing drink of water when you find yourself in a barren place. Let’s look at the definitions to the “wasteland” places we find ourselves in:

Wilderness-A tract uncultivated by human beings, an empty pathless area or region, a confusing multitude or mass. A bewildering situation

Desert-A desolate, forbidding area

Isn’t that EXACTLY how we would describe some of the places we find ourselves in? But, God promises to make a “way”,a “road” or “path” THROUGH these barren places. Let’s look at these words of promise:

Road-A process of a course of action that leads to a certain result. A route or way to an end, conclusion or circumstance

Path-The area in front of someone or something that is moving. A track specially constructed for a particular use, a way of life, conduct or thought. A continuous series of positions or configurations that can be assumed in any motion or process of change by a moving system

Way-How someone does something, how someone behaves, appears, feels, etc… A method or system that can be used to do something, a thoroughfare for travel from place to place. An opening for passage, a course (as a series of actions or sequences of events) leading in a direction or toward an objective, a possible decision, action, or outcome. A method of accomplishing

God has a definite plan and course, a sure direction of getting us through and on to a certain result and conclusion! He knows the track, the method and moving system to get us to the next place. HE knows, even when WE don’t! One of the ways of navigating direction is to track the sun. How true that is spiritually as well! Track the “Son”! Keep your eyes watching Jesus. He IS the Way. When we have committed our lives to the Lord as our Shepherd, He leads us at all times. Even through the “Valley of the Shadow of Death”. Don’t despair, child of God. God promised He would NEVER leave us or forsake us. (Duet.31:8) So we can be strong and courageous as we wait for God’s next step of direction forward.

Jeremiah 29:11 says,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

My friend, God knows where we are. He will lead us “through and on to” something new! Keep your eyes and ears toward the “Son”! He already made the way!

About Photo- This picture was drawn for my website by my 11 year old great niece a couple of years ago. (See “Beautiful Crying, ‘Help!’- Peacocks!”) Here is “The Beautiful Crying, ‘Help'” in a desert place with her reach up to the sun(Son)! My niece had no idea how significant her picture would be to this post! Isn’t God amazing?!




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