For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (HCSB)
I got fired one year ago this coming Friday. It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around that. Some days I still look back in wonder, thinking about things that should have been different, staggering from the trauma, and then other days I think of it almost fondly, feeling as though they did me a huge favor. Though painful and difficult, God used that situation to teach me many lessons.
God doesn’t make bad things happen to us, but He does allow them. Everything that has ever happened in my life, good or bad, is part of the plan. Every failure is part of the plan. Every day-late-and-dollar-short moment, every victory, every loss, every growth spurt, every season of abundance – He knew about it all from the beginning of time. He factored in the difficult as well as the good when solving the equation of my life.
Just like everyone else in the world, I’ve experienced bad things. Mental illness, bankruptcy, miscarriage, death of a parent – I could go on and on. Just as God prepared all the good plans, the prospering, the hope, the future plans; He prepared the dark moments, the places so dry and desolate they would drop me flat on my face. He has never been surprised or caught off guard. He has not changed His mind or chosen another, better suited candidate for the position He wants me to fill. Why? Because He knows what He’s placed inside me, He knows my thoughts, my intent, my heart. He knows my weaknesses and strengths, and He prepared in advance each phase of my life. He knows the pathway to my destination.
The journey is just as important as the destination because it prepares us for the destination. Each point in the journey is designed to prepare us for the next. We cannot be effective if we aren’t prepared, and more often than not, preparation comes through difficult experience. When I look back over my life, I find that the most growth and maturity has occurred during hard times. Maybe that’s because I’m stubborn, or maybe it’s because when times are tough, I tend to stay closer to Him, searching His word, seeking His face, trusting His heart, learning to let go and remembering it is all prepared in advance.
A few weeks ago, a big college rivalry game we wanted to watch was on, but because of our schedules we had to record it and watch it later. My husband avoided all social media in order to watch the game with no knowledge of the outcome. I, on the other hand, couldn’t not know, so I found out the final score before we watched it. He watched nervously through each play, experiencing all the emotional highs and lows, and getting all worked up when things weren’t going well for our team. I remained calm and had no emotional reaction to bad calls or poorly executed drives. Why? I already knew the outcome. We won. I didn’t get upset when parts of the game didn’t go the way I would have liked, and I wasn’t nervous and anxious, wondering how it would all work out in the end. It was easy for me to watch without becoming emotionally distressed because I knew no matter how bad it looked at times, in the end, we were victorious.
Isn’t it the same in our spiritual lives? We know the end – we win, so why do we sweat the small stuff? Why do we get so emotional and nervous and start freaking out when things don’t go as planned? We only see parts, but He sees the whole. He’s prepared it all, and He is leading us to victory.