Calculating Your Days
I had dreams of what college would look like and many were contingent upon my friend, Ellie. Ever since we had both discovered our mutual love for the same college, we formed a nonverbal commitment to be roommates. I was excited for the prospect of rooming with one of my best friends and taking on this new adventure with her.
But when December 6 rolled around, those dreams were crushed. I was accepted; Ellie was deferred. We held on to the faint light that she would be accepted in the regular decision. April arrived and Ellie was forced to look elsewhere. I shared first tears and then comfort with her, but despite my façade of optimism, I wrote in my journal that night: “I don’t understand. I am afraid for what lies ahead.”
I was afraid to face the unknown without a friend by my side. I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone and that I would not find a roommate with similar interests and values. The truth was that I didn’t trust God with my future.
[pullquote width="300" float="right"]“God seems to have a delightful way of upsetting the things we have calculated on without taking Him into account.” -Oswald Chambers[/pullquote]
I had surrendered my dreams about which college to attend, but I held tight to my desires for a roommate. Deep in my heart I felt God would call me to step out in faith, but I clung to my personal calculations. But, my plans were not aligned with His.
In Proverbs 31, Solomon writes of a woman who calculates her days with God. While I’ve looked to his description as an example, verse 25 confused me: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” The second part of this verse left me wondering.
How can one laugh at the future? How can one look upon the unknown with peace and assurance?
Over the past few months, as I’ve seen God work in the lives of myself, my friends, and my family through challenging situations, I’ve begun to realize that the act of laughing at the future is rooted in the act of hoping for the future.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, hope means “to expect with confidence.” The word hope is a transitive verb, which means receiving that hope... hoping for something.
Hope is not wishful thinking; hope is the assurance of what is to come.
While thinking of a Biblical story that modeled this truth, my thoughts turned to Job. He was a man of little hope in the eyes of his friends. As a man who suffered so much pain, I can only imagine how difficult it would be for him to look with any optimism towards the future. I am certain he must have feared the unknown. But in Job 27:8 he asks, “For what hope have the godless when they are cut off, when God takes away their life?” He goes onto explain where his hope rests. Despite the pain he has suffered, Job chose not to question God’s sovereignty, even though he doubted His ways.
[pullquote width="300" float="right"]Have you ever in your life commanded the morning? Who put wisdom in the heart or gave the mind understanding?” [/pullquote]
At the end of the book of Job, God finally answers Job and his friends. He responds to their questions, anger, and so-called encouragement. The gist of what God says is: “Who am I?Where were you when I established the earth? Have you ever in your life commanded the morning? Who put wisdom in the heart or gave the mind understanding?” (Job 38:4, 12, 36). My favorite part is found in Job 41:10, where God describes the Leviathan, a terrifying creature who cannot be controlled by any man. Only God is in charge of this creature. He asks Job and his friends, “No one is ferocious enough to rouse Leviathan; who then can stand against me?”
Job’s answer to all of these questions is what I have learned my answer should be every time I doubt:
“I know that You can do anything and no plan of Yours can be thwarted.” -Job 42:2
If we can trust God to keep the planets and stars in the sky, then surely we can trust Him to solve our problems on this earth. If His plan for the creation of the world, the exodus of the Israelites, and birth of Jesus were all fulfilled, then God has the power to fulfill His plans for our lives. We hope for the future, because we know that our future is secure in God.
Oswald Chambers provides practical advice for living a life that hopes for (or laughs at) the future:
1. “Don’t calculate with the evil in view.” Do not become discouraged because evil surrounds you. Even though situations may appear hopeless, God is good. Make decisions based upon the truth that Jesus has already overcome evil (John 16:33).
2. “Don’t calculate with the rainy day in view.” Trust that God will work all things for your good, even though you may not see the good at the time (Romans 8:28). His words “do not worry” and “do not be afraid” are not words of encouragement; they are commands. Find joy in the peace that Jesus brings.
When I surrendered my selfish desires and began praying for the roommate God desired, He connected me with a student who had similar interests and values and who could also challenge me in my faith. Even though I don’t know what next year will bring, I have hope knowing that God is in control. So I will plan with that hope in mind.
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