Written By Michelle Chun, Malaysia
“Seriously, God?” I was lying down face up on the floor at home, looking at the spinning blades of the ceiling fan. It was January 2014, and I was at a career crossroads in life. Young, inexperienced and struggling to obey His voice—I had just finished a three-month Bible school in New Zealand, and upon my return to Malaysia, was learning what being jobless felt like. It had only been a few weeks, but I was going crazy.
You see, I’m a planner. I enjoy being in control of my life, and my future. I like selecting tasks, having goals, and working to achieve them. After all, if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail, right? So there I was, confidently waiting for the Ultimate Planner to hand me a perfect plan. But then I felt God prompt me. “Take this time to rest. Don’t do anything, don’t plan anything, don’t even look for a job.”
After that? Silence.
I couldn’t believe it. I needed the cash, relatives were gossiping, and there would be a gaping hole in my resume if I didn’t find a job, fast. At that point, His plans for me to take a season of rest made no sense at all.
But God and I have a funny relationship. He often upsets my plans, or even better, dishes out plans that leave me stumped. So what do you do when it feels like God’s gone crazy?
Well, after ranting and many tears, I quieted my heart and went back to His Word. In Matthew 7:7-12, Jesus tells us to ask, seek, and knock. I found helpful handles in this passage—encouragement that could guide me during this season.
Ask and it shall be given unto you.
Some of us were taught never to question God, or our faith; I humbly beg to differ. God made us thinkers with an ability to reason. Asking the Lord for clarity and faith to understand what our earthly minds cannot fathom is biblical (Psalm 44:23-24, Psalm 74:9-11).
If we’re questioning because we want God’s plan to fit into our plans, lifestyles, or choices, it’s no longer healthy asking but selfish doubt. However, if we have sincere, searching hearts, He will answer. It may not be the answer we want at that moment, but His peace will silence the chaos within. I especially found peace in worship (It’s not beyond God to control our Spotify playlists when we hit shuffle!) and the Word; it calmed my troubled heart hour by hour.
Seek and you shall find.
Seeking wise counsel is an often overlooked gem in our Christian journey. Proverbs reminds us that wisdom is the principal thing! If you’re struggling to surrender to God’s plans for you, seek godly wisdom from leaders and friends.
Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days (Proverbs 19:20). When God’s plans don’t make sense, godly advice can be a lamp shining in the dark, pointing you back to faith in His goodness. My parents and sister, close friends, and spiritual mentors were a huge source of encouragement in that season of hopelessness, reminding me that following Christ’s purpose sometimes isn’t what the world wants, or accepts. Their wisdom gave me the courage to silence the worldly voices, and rest in obedience.
Knock and the door shall be opened unto you.
Finally, knock at the door of your own heart and ask God to reveal what’s stopping you from trusting His plans. Sometimes, it’s because we’re more confident in our rational minds than in a Sovereign God. I was definitely guilty of that, because I thought no one could know me, my deepest thoughts and desires, better than myself. How wrong I was.
After all, we’re human. Our plans are often—if not always—small-minded and short-sighted. We can’t see the future, so how can we truly plan for it? Perhaps we have less control over our lives than we think we do; our choices (although entirely our own) often cannot guarantee the outcomes we hope for.
In Jeremiah 29:11-14, we find a promise of God’s purposes for us, a plan that gives us a hope and a future. His plans aren’t tarnished by sin or selfishness; they’re plans of a loving Father for His beloved children. He always has our best at heart, which is ultimately knowing our Creator in a deep and personal way, and understanding our purpose as His creation. As we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him. That is His promise.
In 2014, I learned firsthand that His plans will always trump mine. I obeyed and didn’t look for a job. Instead, I spent time with Him, binge-watched Top Chef, stared at the ceiling fan, and wallowed in self-pity (yes, still a sinner) as I struggled to trust His crazy plan. Looking back, those were precious moments in my Christian journey, for it was there in my deep pit that God became more real than ever to me. No longer did I feel like a puppet at the mercy of a grand puppeteer. Instead I found out more about His character: He’s a good Father, and He loves me.
True to His nature, God never let me down. A little over two months later, I found a position at a Christian humanitarian organization. Actually, after one initial inquiry led to a handful of offers, it felt more like the job found me, for God’s plans are never half-baked. He’s also a long-term planner because a year later, while deployed on the job for an emergency response, I met a great guy who had volunteered. We’re celebrating our two-year wedding anniversary this month.
So yes, God’s plans may not make sense at the time, at least not to our limited minds. Trusting Him is not always easy, especially when it seems like nothing’s working in your favor. At times, God’s plan may not look pretty, or maybe the breakthrough you’ve been praying for hasn’t come. You may feel lost and alone, but know that if God’s brought you to this path, He will bring you through it. He never leaves us nor forsakes us, I know that for a fact (Hebrews 13:5). Stay the course, and He will steer you safely into harbor.
If you’re trying to make sense of God’s direction for your life in this season, I encourage you to be unafraid in asking Him for faith and clarity. Seek wise counsel from those with spiritual authority in your life. Knock on the door of your heart, asking the Lord to help you trust Him wholeheartedly.
Finally, I pray you will find rest in the blessed assurance that your future is in the good, steady hands of the Ultimate Planner.
Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series on Seeking God in Decision-Making. Read the other articles in the series, “When You’re Skeptical of God’s Plan” here, and “When You Don’t Hear From God” here.