Friday, July 1, 2011

A Radical Decision

When I was 18, 20, 22 years old, I had this radical idea.

I believed God could lead me in the course of my life. I believed He knew where I should be headed, and that He could direct me into the exact niche in the world that He had created me to occupy.

I even believed that he would do this.

And lo and behold, things started happening. When I was 18, I was asked to take a job with a Bible publishing company. It was a "real job," in a nice office, with normal hours, and a great salary.

When I was 20, my project at that job was complete, and I went off to college. The two years I had worked allowed me to complete college debt-free, which I considered to be a significant achievement.

After college, I got asked to come back and teach some of the courses I had just learned. (It was a young college that was just getting started, so there were opportunities like this available for people like me who would otherwise have been underqualified.)

I was happy, had just enough of a challenge to keep me interested and on my toes, and couldn't see one step ahead of where I was on the road of life.

Then, somewhere along the way, I figured out how the world worked. "Ohhhhh, Rebekah! You had better get with the picture! What? You don't have a 5-year plan? Well, you'd better get busy. The way to get ahead in life is to envision your future, make plans, and then work toward the completion of those plans. I can't believe you're just now getting the memo! You've never even thought of looking ahead! What's up with that?" So I started trying to envision, plan, and act accordingly.

Suddenly, it seemed I had done everything all wrong. I had chosen a major without looking ahead to see what career path that would lead to, and now I didn't want to work in Communications. I had blithely ridden in the wagon of life while God held the reins, and I had merely gone where the wagon took me. Now I decided to jump off the wagon and make my own way in the world. This time, I would pay more attention to what was coming down the road.

Curiously, everything started to fall apart. None of my pursuits amounted to anything. I cleaned houses, taught piano students, spent a few months smothering in boredom as a cashier, and worked in a preschool. Life just wasn't going the way I wanted it to go. I was pushing on doors, especially doors to the mission field, but I couldn't open them. Nothing was working out.

Then I hit on the answer! What I needed was a Master's degree. That would solve all my problems and lift me out of the dead-end jobs I had been working in. Teaching was the highlight of my life (especially the piano students), so I decided a Master's in Education would be just the thing. I took the GRE and started calling for more information about different schools. Monday I went to an informational meeting at a local college and talked with the faculty about what would be involved in the Master's program.

I left the meeting feeling discouraged and thwarted again. There was no way I could pay for a Master's program. I didn't have $18,000, and at the rate I was going, it would take me more than 5 years to save up that much money. Sure, I could qualify for a loan, but I was absolutely unwilling to go into debt. Then I would really be stuck. I wouldn't have a chance to get back to the mission field until all that debt was paid off, and who knows when that would be. Besides, with all the cuts in education, I wasn't even sure I could get a job.

Then a simple, but radical idea dawned on me. Why not trust God for my future?

"Oh my goodness!" I thought. "He's the only one who can see it anyway. And look how much better things were going for me when I was actively trusting Him for the way I should go. I think I'll get back up in His wagon. I think I'll stop hunting, stop weaving my little webs, stop pushing, stop manipulating. I resolve to prove God. Can God direct my life without my help? And will He? I will try Him. I will stop trying to figure it out on my own. I will depend wholly and completely on Him to lead me in the way I should go."

A verse I had read that morning came back to my mind:

“And now Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” Dt. 10:12-13 (See also Micah 6:8)

What does God require of me? Not education. Not a fancy career. Not dazzling missionary activity. No.

He simply wants me to fear Him, obey Him, love Him, and serve Him.

"How about this?" I thought. "I will occupy myself with that, and let all the other things go. I will just do that one thing. And while I'm doing that, I will be content with wherever God places me. If He wants me to stay in the place where I'm at, with the amount of money I'm making, I will be content with that. My part will be simply to walk with God. His part will be to envision the future, make plans, and give me commands to carry out His will."

It seems so simple. It worked for me before. Now it will be interesting to see where He takes me from here. I don't know where the wagon's going, but I trust Him to know, and to direct my way perfectly to the destination where He wants to take me.


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