I discovered this post in my drafts, where it had lingered for three years. It helped me remember the creativity and goodness in God’s plans, so I’m sharing it in the hope that it will encourage someone else.
I recently caught a view that took my breath away. It was on a hike (I still haven’t completed it yet, but more on that in a bit.) The last few miles seemed more downhill than upward. Talk about demoralizing. It was a stretch of mostly shadow, with certainly no view of the top.
But then—a sharp bend and a sudden lookout! And though I could not stop, I looked back from there, and I could see the view of the last portion I’d traversed. And it wasn’t nearly as ugly as I thought. In fact, its ruggedness made it beautiful.
Why do God’s plans only make sense in hindsight? On this journey of faith, looking back at the right time, from the right place, we catch those unhindered glimpses of our path thus far. Sometimes, all we see is the ruts and boulders we’ve traversed with the Lord’s help, but there are those glorious other times when we can see more than just the last bend of the road and can take in an entire landscape. Maybe not a wide-angle-lens-worthy landscape (that 360-degree view is only available from the mountaintop called heaven) but it’s a view nonetheless that makes us realize the hazards one, five, and even ten miles back were not without reason and contributed to one amazing scene.
The hike I described above is actually an analogy of a season that did not make a bit of sense at the time. I felt like I was wandering in a valley for over two years, going from one thing to next and having each thing I touched either turn to ash or taken away.
Then suddenly, I emerged from the valley and could see out over the last miles. That one precious glimpse showed me that everything I thought was dust and ashes had been in God’s hands all along.
- When I thought I’d failed when I’d resigned after working three days on a job I thought I’d love, God knew it was for a reason.
- When I thought I’d wasted seven months of my life waiting, God knew I’d later need everything I learned in those months.
- When I wondered why God brought me to a ministry job that ushered a season of heartache and questioning, God knew how He could use every bit of it.
- While I was slowly giving up hope of seeing redemption from a former season, God wasn’t finished.
- While I was surrendering dreams and erasing plans, God had yet to reveal His.
Almost overnight, God ushered me out of the valley and used what I’d learned there for the season immediately following it. He led me in His creative, personalized way to a new city in a new state, where I am now working for a ministry that supplies medicines for missions and non-profits all over the world. This one job alone covers the big three of what I was looking for: 1) I wanted to work full-time for a ministry, 2) I wanted to use my writing abilities, and 3) I wanted to be a part of something that was missions minded.
Here in this season of amazement at God’s goodness, it’s made all the sweeter by the shadows I once knew. He has truly made a way, and not by any strength or effort of mine.
- Now I understand why I had that three-day job and the good it did.
- Now I know not a day of those seven months of waiting and relying on God was wasted.
- Now I know that the taxing job was vital to my personal and professional growth.
- Now I can see God’s redemption.
- Now my dreams and plans are fully surrendered to God.
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not (yet) seen. How sweet it is when our faith gets those glimpses of the plan now past. It gives hope, reassuring that the future is as much planned out by God as the past was.
Keep a weathered eye out for those glimpses!