Enjoy this devotional written by a FlourishWriter’s Student…
As I climbed the sturdy metal steps on the outside of that faded red brick building, I paused at my apartment door to view the two-and-a-half blocks of historic downtown from a different perspective. For the next year, I planned to call this tiny corner of the world home.
It was a satisfying moment. My hard work to become a music teacher was paying off.
Satisfaction faded quickly, however, as I realized just how foreign small-town culture was to me. As a musician and performer, I found comfort on stages or fancy music halls, not holding concerts in gymnasiums. And how unsettling that everyone knew who I was at the grocery store!
This area of the state was agricultural, with miles of cropland, loads of livestock, and never-ending gravel roads. These roads mocked me mercilessly as I unsuccessfully navigated them, often ending up lost in yet another small town.
As the year progressed, I complained to God often that this was not the type of living situation I had envisioned for myself. I kept begging Him to “GET ME OUT OF HERE!”
But God was saying nothing. He was doing nothing.
Or was He?
At the start of Psalm 37, King David writes we are to “trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” (NIV) What does that look like? For me, it was a period of painful pruning but exceptional growth.
The Lord brought me to this new place and surrounded me with people who became an extended family. I ended up having opportunities I may not have gotten in a large city. I was able to “do good” while learning to trust, dwell, and enjoy the Lord’s safe pasture.
Now, I didn’t see all this in my frustration. All I did was focus on what I didn’t have and what I thought I needed.
Then God spoke.
I didn’t hear an audible voice. I didn’t see lightning or feel the earth-shaking. He spoke to me through a non-dramatic impression in my soul that I was to remain in this position for yet another year.
“Really, God?” I whined.
Of course, I already knew the answer. Even though I still felt like a foreigner, a gentle nudge of the Lord revealed I was nothing short of a snob when I had raised my internal eyebrows at these precious people. He graciously added to my faith and gave me a new perspective on persevering in my new town.
I was at finally at peace.
Then the principal called me into his office.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “We need to make budget cuts for next year. This includes making your position part time. I can imagine that’s not going to work for you.”
“No, I’ll stay,” I replied. “I know I’m supposed to.”
Sometimes, stepping out in faith means staying right where you are.
Perhaps you have found yourself in a place or season you didn’t want to be and pleaded with God to change your circumstances. Maybe that describes you right now. Are you waiting for marriage? Children? Maybe you’re longing for physical healing or you’re desperate for a new job.
No matter what situation you are in, God sees you. He hears your prayers and doesn’t shy away from your tears. He delights in you. His plan is always for your benefit. He WILL build your faith.
But you may be wondering, “How do I get through the waiting?”
Rest. Sometimes it can be agonizing to sit still. Why is that? We are used to working, busyness, and doing ALL.THE.THINGS. The work itself is not usually the issue. It’s when we leave out the “rest” component that we often rob ourselves of seeing and hearing what can only be perceived in quiet, still moments.
Psalm 37:7 (NIV) supports this by calling us to “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Just a few chapters prior, David describes being made to lie down, being led by the Lord to still waters, and being restored in the process. (Ps 23:2-3). He must have learned this process works.
Pray. If you are unsure of how to start praying while waiting, I suggest you ask God to help you align your desires with His. By offering God our desires and asking where He would like us, we can often remove anxiousness and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us.
Praise. The song Waymaker encourages us that God is working even when we don’t see or feel anything changing. Much of what God has for our lives is going on behind the scenes. He is waiting for the right moments to reveal His plan. If you can do nothing else, lift your voice in gratitude for all the blessings He’s given. Our call to worship the living God is always an action step in the right direction.
So, was God working things out that I couldn’t initially see? You bet He was.
Shortly after I accepted the pay cut from the school, my pastor approached me and asked if I could lead worship in exchange for rent at the vacant parsonage. This arrangement saved me roughly the same amount of money I was losing. Coincidence? No way!
I ended up working full time at my church for the next 12 years, and it’s there I met my husband, a dairy farmer. Ironically, I now live in the country complete with crops, livestock, and, you guessed it . . . on a gravel road. While my physical sense of direction has NOT improved, I now have more faith to trust God’s direction, even when that means staying still.
Today, may you be comforted as you invite the Lord into your circumstances. May you experience sweet rest as you wait for the dust to settle and for His perfect plan to become clear.
Maria is a musician, educator, and writer. She holds a Masters Degree in Leadership and is in the process of becoming a certified Professional Life Coach. Maria is happily married to Aaron and currently stays home on the dairy farm with their three young children, Israel, Ryan, and Anna.