A few years ago, I was presented with a situation that required some difficult personal decisions. Recognizing that I was too close to and too emotional about it, I sought out two people who I respect and trust to provide advice in line with my beliefs. I wasn’t looking for them to fix the situation because that was well outside the scope of either person’s capabilities. I simply needed help gaining perspective to see the situation more clearly. Sounds like a great plan, right? It was! But then, the individual conversations yielded two very different ways forward. In fact, the more people I sought out, the more the opinions multiplied.
Should I mention here that I live in NY where we consider it our responsibility to tell people what to do?
Have you ever found yourself in this situation? How did you handle it? For the Christian, we strive to remain seeped in the gospel and to seek to live out our faith on a daily basis. We seek God’s wisdom and will for our lives in His word, in prayer and in a community of faith. We are told to “rejoice always, pray continually, (and) give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17).
Pray continually? But what if our circumstances are not ideal? Praying continually might seem like a lot of talking on our part as we offer up all of our worries and gripes, trying to avoid the pain and difficulties of this life. While I wouldn’t call myself a professional talker, I will freely admit that I am a semi-pro debater and, trust me, I am totally up for the challenge of producing a lot of words…and a lot of worry. But we are commanded to “Be still, and know that (He) is God” (Psalm 46:10). Easier said than done sometimes. Especially when we are on the receiving end of conflicting advice during a storm, and we don’t know what to do next.
So what did I do?
The Holy Spirit helped me to be still and to wait patiently. To study scripture. To actively seek joy. The storms around me surged. I cried out. I complained. I got really angry. To do otherwise would have been an hypocrisy I am no longer willing to wear as I’ve learned that it suffocates the soul. But the Spirit helped me to continue to trust. To ask for help. I tested advice, evaluated options and potential consequences. I prayed. I listened. He helped me meet fear with faith when I had none.
I trusted in God’s future grace: “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14).
And what have I found through this season? God proves faithful and true. He loves us beyond our expectations and understanding. He answers prayer and continues to transform us into the people He wants us to be when we submit our life to His will. He is good. He gives us rest for our souls and provides peace, and He has greatly blessed me and others who have walked with me through this season.
And that conflicting advice I was given? I eventually saw both sides as God’s perfect provision and timing, and I listened. I made a decision and moved on. And it’s been good.