So how many of you know God’s Will for your life? Have any of you come to a place of understanding anything about what His Will actually means? I don’t have an answer to the first question for my life, given I’m disabled, & now unwell too, it’s hard to know what His longterm plans actually are for me. But I have learnt plenty about the second point – and even more so in recent weeks.
My first real understanding of how God brings His Will to fruition was many years ago when I was about 33 or so. My late husband & I had relocated a few miles from our home, in order for me to take up what I considered to be a dream job – starting up & managing a large Cat Shelter. With my Vet Nursing background & love of cats, I relished the opportunity, and even put myself through the torture of having to get a driving licence. I was so ridiculously nervous, I had to use self hypnosis just to get myself out the door & into the car for each lesson & even then sweated buckets the entire hour of the lesson – more when I made mistakes, which was quite frequently!! Incredibly I took 18 lessons in 2 weeks & passed first time. We threw ourselves into the job & my boss in England told me I was doing an excellent job. So, it was an absolute huge shock when I took a phonecall from him a week before my 6 months probationary period was up, & he told me they were “letting me go” because of irreconciable differences between myself & the local Branch (long story that one, but suffice to say it came down to in-house politics, power, & money!), but also because they’d discovered that my hubby was an alcoholic which was a no-no in their books.
SO, my whole life was turned upside down in a heartbeat for no good reason I could see for the Lord to allow it. I was devastated – I’d never been fired from a job before, let alone when I’d been doing a good job, & to also be released without any references – I felt I’d never get another job. I cried for weeks, but underneath it all I was somewhat angry at God wondering why He bothered to let me get the job only to take it away from me again so soon. The answer came about 18 months later, when I became disabled & Stephen’s disease progressed very rapidly. IF we’d stayed in that job until those things inevitably happened anyway, I’d have still lost the job, but this time we’d also have probably no house to return to, as we’d been on the verge of renting our old house out. We’d probably have had to move in with friends or relatives which would have been horrendous given the situation. But the biggest blessing I recognised from having got that job was the fact that I could now drive, & when I became so disabled myself that I was eligible for the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (one of the UK’s highest paying benefit), I was also then eligible to get a Motability car (Motability is a charity which provides brand new cars on a 3-year leasing arrangement where the recipient only has to cover petrol costs – everything else is provided “free”), which was absolutely invaluable when Stephen could no longer drive & I was then able to get him to vital appts & also undertake all the necessary running around required by my charity work.
So that was my first experience of how God’s Will is always perfect – you just might not see it when you start walking in a dark valley of testing. Since that time I’ve had other similar experiences – not perhaps quite as traumatic but always with the same outcome – being able to look back & see Him working out a better purpose than I could have expected.
“And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:27-31
I was further tested again this past few months when my health took a serious nose dive for the first time in many years. As I mentioned in my last post, one of my autoimmune conditions (Sjogren’s Syndrome) has been responsible for me now having endless mouth infections – between candidiasis (thrush) & HSV (herpes simplex) I’ve only had about 10 days in the past 4 months when I’ve been able to eat reasonably normally or without pain. On top of that I’d my first ever faint & was hugely fortunate in not having a major head injury out of it, but again God’s Grace prevailed. At the outset of it all back in April, I was in so much “torture” with a particularly severe thrush outbreak, I did struggle somewhat to figure out what purpose God could possibly have in letting me go through the experience, but within a day of being admitted to hospital I discovered it – where before, I’d been waiting months to see a couple of Consultants with respect to the problem, in one afternoon, I was referred not just to them, but also 5 others, & saw them all in the space of 10 days. So I ended up getting far more input to my situation than I would ever have done otherwise, & was so pleased how things worked out in the end. I’ve been in another 2 times since then, but learnt to just sit back & relax & wait to see what He would bring out of those admissions too, & indeed each has provided further & better progression in managing my problems.
“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great recompense of reward. For you have need of patience, so that after you have done the will of God you might receive the promise.” Heb 10:35-36
So, for anyone who’s at the start of some major trial in their life, whether that’s personal illness, or a job loss, or even bereavement, if you’ve submitted to God’s Will for your life, then know He absolutely will bring you through it & you will eventually maybe find reasons, & be much stronger for the experience. Dark valleys are never enjoyable places to be, more usually dark, scary & without much light ahead to keep you moving forwards, but when you do finally break out the other end & start walking up a bright mountain, you will be able to look back & praise God for leading you through the valley safely. I discovered the key to coping in those dark valleys was praise & lots of it – as soon as I focused on Him, all my fears, & concerns just melted away, & His Love took over & calmed me. It’s certainly not easy, & perhaps in some situations, impossible, but so long as your heart looks to Him, even if you can’t speak or sing, He will respond.
May He uphold you in your dark valleys, & soon lead you out onto a bright mountain!
Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Father is a merciful God, who always gives us comfort. 2 Cor: 1:3