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And the Next Stop Is…?

 My dad is the jack-of-all-trades sort. Since he began working as a teenager, he’s been a deli employee, a telephone installation guy, a messenger in Manhattan, a business student, a draftsman, and an operating room nurse — talk about an assortment of experiences! I love hearing his stories from each of those jobs, especially the ones he tells of working in the OR, having happily served there for nearly 30 years.

As his 20-something-year-old daughter, I find myself frequently thinking about the future — where will I live? Who will I work with? What will You have me doing, God?

It’s easy for me to imagine a number of possibilities. I have an eclectic background, shall we say (changed my major more times that you can count on one hand!) and a mélange of interests. Like father, like daughter, I suppose. I get excited just thinking of potential life plans, and my imagination stays in good shape with all my dreaming.

While my friends seem to find my musings amusing, I realize that it’s important for me to remember to stay balanced. Yes, I can brainstorm some possible future plans, motivated by a desire to act wisely and with good preparation. But, ultimately, I mustn’t hold onto my plans with such a tight grip that I would be devastated when things don’t happen according to my script (or lose circulation in my hand from a clenched fist).

Instead, I’ll look to my Dad. Not just the admirable qualities of my earthly dad — though I love him very much — but my Heavenly Father.

He Delights in Giving Good Gifts

God is the One who made me (Psalm 139) and knows me fully (1 Corinthians 12:12). He knows what I need more than I think I know what I need. Think about it: I bet some of the best, most significant things in your life were never planned by you. Am I right? Same here! And I didn’t even know to specifically ask for many of those blessings — many of which didn’t exactly appear to be “blessings” when I first encountered them. Like having my room assignment changed my freshman year of college, placing me in a unit where I would make my best friends to this day. Or like being rejected from two promising internship positions, only to receive a scholarship for summer classes combined with an awesome internship. You can’t make this stuff up!

But this is my Heavenly Father we’re talking about — my Father who delights in giving good gifts. “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly…[B]lessed is the one who trusts in [Him]!” (Psalm 84:11b-12). Check out Matthew 6:25-34. He knows exactly what we need and loves us.

God has big-picture vision. He sees the span of my days laid out and knows what’s coming around the corner tomorrow or in 10 years.

I, on the other hand, am quite near-sighted. And my quasi-hipster glasses can’t correct that kind of myopia.

Even though I don’t know everything that will happen in the future, I must not get paralyzed at the uncertainty that lies ahead. Rather, God offers peace in the midst of uncertainty. I get to grow closer to the Lord as I seek Him, pray for guidance, make decisions and walk by faith.

As we walk by faith, we have hope in the very end (that is, spending eternity with my Savior, in sinless perfection). But before then, it doesn’t always seem like a walk in the park — on a clear, sunny day when I can see the sidewalk stretch ahead for miles. Instead, as Kneeland Brown shared with my fellow Focus Leadership Institute interns, we have just enough light to see in front of us. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

So I’ll take hold of that lamp as I soak up His Word, and I’ll keep trusting Him who has shown himself to be good. Won’t you join me? I know where we’re going is good, though I don’t exactly know how we’ll get there. But I’m up for the adventure.

Here are some verses as you look forward to the next stop:

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!” (Psalm 84:11-12).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:3-4).

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