We all go through those times where we wonder what’s next? I’m thinking most specifically of the post-graduate who’s just not quite sure what to do in the following phase of his or her life, but I doubt that one can ever outgrow questions that tend to haunt you.

You hope there’s a bend just ahead that will decipher what the outcome of your life will be…
Dreading that maybe there’s a fork in the trail coming up, forcing you to make a big scary decision…
Wondering if you’re supposed to step off the well-trod path you are on and blaze your own trail…
Perhaps doubting that God really even cares about what you do…

Simply the big question is what am I to do with my life?

You don’t know if you should take that college course, or apply for that mission board, or attend that Bible School, or go on that trip, or accept that career, or step out of your comfort zone to do the awkward who-knows-what.

You pray prayers that God would use you, and then He doesn’t. At least as far as you can tell. You’re still in the same place, mindset, rut, or situation you were in months ago, and nothing appears to be changing. You feel dead and worthless and long for more color in your life.

You have your dreams of living an exciting life as a missionary, doctor, musician, pastor, evangelist, pilot, and on the list can go. Chances are that your most specific longings center around the desire of a sweetheart to claim as your own.

We have our plans and ideals of what we feel God is calling us to, but there’s something that keeps it from happening. For some it’s a matter of waiting for the right age, yet for others the plans have not materialized and the doors simply have remained shut no matter how you pound on them.

What’s a person to do when God’s timetable is so completely not on schedule? When His will is unknown, or doesn’t line up with yours?

It all boils down to a word we don’t like.

 Sacrifice.

It’s easy to put such a word in a pious prayer—“Lord, I sacrifice myself to your service… in Africa.”—Yet often we’re putting stipulations on God. Of course that’s sacrifice… sacrifice to our own agenda. As long as God fits in our agenda, we’re sacrificed, we’re motivated, we’re on fire, we’re His vessels… We’re at His service!

But what if His agenda is different? What if it’s the quiet obscure life that doesn’t put you in the limelight? What if it’s to walk the road of loneliness? What if it’s a drastic change of plans? What if it’s cancer or some other physical deterioration? What if it’s the long medical ordeal facing a close family member? What if it’s not what we want? Sacrifice is a different word then, isn’t it? Sacrifice is then spelled out as DISAPPOINTING.

The question needs to be asked: do you see God as your servant? Is He there for you so He can orchestrate your life the way you want it? Is His agenda naturally going to be conformed to yours?

We must come to understand that God’s will isn’t something that inevitably brings us where we don’t want to go and makes our life miserable. When you give Him your everything, you’re not giving Him the opportunity to abuse you. That’s not what He’s looking for.

He takes pleasure in satisfying the desires of your heart. He loves to fulfill the needs and longings of the soul that is sold out to Him. His ear is open to your cry, and He compassionately bottles your tears.

Sacrifice is in fact an act of praise. It’s letting go of everything that you claim as your own. It’s letting God take your desires and molding them after His. It’s in His presence that one obtains fullness of joy.

 Sacrifice isn’t something that arrays you in a cloak of miserable self-righteousness. It’s humbly believing God to be true to His word, and accepting whatever it is He will send you, bring you through, and plan for your life.

Sacrifice is realizing the difference between joy and happiness: happiness rests solely on the circumstances of life. Joy rests in the promises of the Giver of Life, and that is the all-abiding sense that is not contingent on your happiness.

Perhaps you’re at the point in life where the looming horizons hold no light for tomorrow. You don’t know what to do next. You beg to know the purpose of your life, and you wonder if God allowed you to get lost somewhere in the shuffle.

Hold on to the fact that He is guiding you with the apple of His eye. He wants to be the King of your heart, you just have to allow Him to rule.

There’s too much at stake to cling to your own agenda. Dream your dreams, but don’t stifle God by basing your life on them. Let God be the fulfillment of your desires. Don’t cling to all you think is rightfully yours. God sometimes takes us through the fire, but His ultimate goal is to bring us forth as gold.

Don’t be afraid to let God be God. His promise always remains that when you pass through the waters, He will be with you, the rivers will not overflow you, the fire can not consume you. He is your God and your Savior. You are precious in His sight, and He has called you by name and loved you with an everlasting love.

Advertisements