I Will Follow You
The end of graduate school was drawing near, and I was elated as I considered that the culmination of the past year and a half of my hard work was about to come to a poetic close as I crossed the stage, accepted my diploma, and became a master in my field. Even better, I knew I had a job waiting for me after I graduated - a rare gift in the recession era of the American economy. I would be teaching at the middle school where I had been working as a research intern and substitute teacher for the entirety of my graduate school career, since both the assistant principals and teachers alike had assured me that the opening in the English department was as good as mine.
Emotionally and spiritually, I was on cloud nine; God was answering the prayers I had offered up over many nights when I stared out my window, directing my petitions to the stars. But that perfect image changed one sunny day, several weeks before my graduation. As I sat in my future classroom, grading essays written by my future students, and planning how I would spend my future paychecks to make it a warm, welcoming learning environment, one of the assistant principals came in and shattered every idea I held about the things that were to come. There had been a change of heart in the hiring process and now, instead of hiring me, another applicant would be hired in my place.
I was crushed - the weight of the realization that I was not going to live the life I thought God had planned for me laid on my soul in must as heavy a measure as the weight of my graduate school tuition bills were going to lay on my bank account now that I did not have a plan for a full-time job. How could God let this seemingly perfect job opportunity pass me by? Why had He forgotten about all of the prayers I had sent up to Him, asking Him to bless me? What happened to ask and it will be given to you? Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Those words from Matthew about the simplicity of faith had been my favorite verse since childhood, and now I felt like they were somehow mocking me.
Not knowing what else to do, and feeling temporarily dazed with spiritual tumult, I turned to my family and my Bible for guidance. Through watery eyes, I reached for the Word, opening to no page in particular, simply looking for inspiration in my disappointment. The text seemed to jump up and shout my name, existing in that moment for the sole purpose of lifting my spirit and bringing me back to alignment with the truth that only God knows: "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me" (2 Corinthians 12:9). That night, I was the one who was weak and in need of the loving embrace of God. Because He heard my plea, He blessed me with the gift of His Word - a perfect presentation of what my soul needed to hear. He was, and always will be, stronger than me, and I needed to let go of what I thought I wanted because it was not a part of His plan.
HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT
The grace of God is far superior to any roadblock that we may face during our personal journey - that is the treasure of His presence. From professional disappointments to what we believe is our personal lack, and everything in between, God's Word, His presence, and His love is available to us, urging us to proclaim His glory even (and maybe especially) in our weakness in order to commit to the pursuit of His purpose above our own. The designs we hold for our lives are not always going to reflect what God sees fit for us, but in those times of discord, we can rest assured in the love of His grace which is with us at all times and seasons. His favor is extended to each of us who believe through our faith relationship with Him (Ephesians 2:8).
We never need to allow the disappointments of this life to impact our souls, because we have been taught that through the freedom given to us through Christ, we are always blessed. Instead of allowing the derailment of our plans to encourage us to turn our backs on God, we need to run to Him, proclaiming our weakness in just as loud a volume as we celebrate our triumphs so that the presence of God may be brought into our lives in perfect abundance. Disappointment is natural when our plans are changed, but the God who loves us will help us to keep our gaze fixed upon Him, His promises, and His designs for us, for they are all far greater than anything we are capable of creating on our own.
A SOURCE OF CONTENTMENT
The apostle Luke, in his writing of the Acts of the Apostles, provided directions for trusting in the grace of God: "Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). The reality is, God's plans for our lives are going to play out according to His will whether we stress out about what comes next or not. When we believe wholeheartedly in the truth of His words and grace, we find contentment in our relationship with Him, and are able to bond our hearts and minds with His. If our plans come apart so that God's plans can come together, we have been given the gift of a chance to turn our faces to the light of His radiance, knowing that under His guidance lies the dominance of truth.
Ultimately, in my situation, I needed to put aside what I thought I wanted, and faithfully follow the God who knew the course of my life in a much more intimate way. While emotionally, I felt dismayed, I also felt a growing sense of contentment, knowing that this rejection was an opportunity to more fully welcome His love. His timing was not the same as mine, and that was okay. He was leading me elsewhere, and I needed to accept His grace with open arms and an open suitcase.
I believe the message of His perfect plan and the need for me to release the tight grip I once held on controlling my circumstances in a much more powerful way now than I did before. If you currently find yourself in a season of misalignment between your plans and God's, I suspect He may be calling you to believe the same. God has my back, and He has yours too. His grace is available to all of us. We are called to respond with our proclamations of contentment even in weaknesses. Like the man who met Jesus along the road, we must be willing to welcome Him into our lives and trust the timing and movement of His plan, honestly telling Him, "I will follow you wherever you go" (Luke 9:57).
Will you follow God wherever He leads you?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Rebecca Flasz is an avid traveler, lifestyle writer, and elementary school teacher turned college professor. She holds degrees in Education at the Bachelor of Science, Master of Education, and Doctorate of Education levels and has a heart for teaching others. In addition, she is a passionate free spirit who enjoys a good cup of tea, spending time outdoors with family, and listening to the sounds of wind chimes and singing birds. She believes in writing pieces that are reflective of the loving kindness of Christ, meant to help others feel worthy and loved. You can read more of Rebecca's writing on her blog Sagebrush and Salt.