“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands… Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD God disciplines you.”
It has been the cry of my heart for years that God would call me to be a missionary and use me to do something significant for Him. Last year, God closed the door on what I had been counting on doing and longing for. I was upset. I couldn’t accept the reality of it and believed that it would still happen. Then God showed me why I was so upset: I had my own plans that I had given my life to, and when God changed them, not only was I shaken in the moment, but my whole future seemed to shatter.
It didn’t happen just once. God opened a door I counted on being closed. I wrestled within my heart and fought the will of God, until finally I accepted it and followed Him. I can’t explain the peace that filled my whole being each time I surrendered my plans and submitted to God. He waited so patiently for me, just like a loving Father, not letting me have my own way.
Now as I look back, I realize that for the longest time I had fooled myself into thinking that I was submitting to God’s plan. Even if I was submitting in my outward actions, my heart was set on the things I wanted to do. Without knowing it, I put my plans above God. They were good things I was longing for, but when they became more important to me than God, my walk with the Lord was hindered. As I read this verse from Deuteronomy, I see what God was been doing. I thought He was keeping me from something good, but instead all this time, He has been patiently teaching me to follow Him and preparing me for what lies ahead. He’s been testing my heart just as He did to the Israelites, to see if I’m really willing to obey His commands. He’s disciplined me in a gentle and Fatherly way.
My longings aren’t gone. I still hope and pray for God to open the door He closed, yet I know His timing is best – better than any of the plans I have. I hope that when God changes my plans I will be quick to surrender to His ways. I may have learned this lesson once or twice, but I have to continually surrender my plans to God. Every day is a choice.
—School of Discipleship student