Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Keeping faith in God no matter what happens

Cultivating an Outside-the-Box Faith
A devotional by Sarah Cole

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”—Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

In my many years as a single woman, I've wanted to meet a godly man to share my life with. Yet, when I joined a few dating sites last year, God told me He was putting me on hold. For what? I did not know, but I believed He had a good reason for the delay.

A short time later, out of nowhere, a door opened for me to lead a women's ministry at my church. Had I been dating someone, I may have been too busy or distracted to fulfill a calling I never expected, much less dreamed up.

It turns out I didn't know what was best after all.

As humans, it's natural to want things to go our way. From our first cries to the turmoil of toddlerhood and the awkwardness of adolescence, great expectations have a way of defining us.

When we join God's family, our eternal destination changes. But until we mature, it's natural to expect Him to answer our prayers the way we'd like. After all, if sin says the world revolves around us, shouldn't we have a say in how life goes?

I've learned that while God is good, He doesn't always give us what we want. Instead, in His infinite love and wisdom, He gives us what we need because, in His kingdom, our character is more important than our comfort (Ephesians 4:22-24). While it's easy to get disappointed when life doesn't play out the way we hope, by surrendering to Him and trusting His goodness, we find His plans are best (Jeremiah 29:11).

When we take God out of our box and offer our plans on the altar, we experience rest because we can finally stop running toward everything we think we need and into the arms of a Father whose plans fit us perfectly.

Perhaps today, like me, your circumstances are a stark reminder of an unfulfilled desire. Or, the frantic pace your life has taken hasn't given you fulfillment but has taken from you what matters most. Or maybe, your dream job has become more of a nightmare.

Friend, if your expectations have disappointed you, place them in a God who knew you before you were even born (Psalm 139:16). Someone committed to your highest good, even if that turns out to be far different from what you expected.

God gave up His only Son (Jesus Christ) in order to meet your greatest need. He will certainly take care of everything else in a way you never expected.

He's just waiting for you to let Him out of the box, open your heart, and expect a miracle.

Let’s Pray:

Father, so often I find myself disappointed when my plans don't succeed. When I’m tempted to do things my way, remind me that in Your infinite love and wisdom, I can trust You to do what is best for me. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: "Walk by Faith" by Jeremy Camp. Listen to it here. *Note: This is a song from the "I Still Believe" movie soundtrack. Watch the movie trailer here.

Author Bio:

Sarah Cole’s interest in writing began in grade school when her poem was published in the local paper. As she got older, her mother’s chronic illness inspired her to design a line of greeting cards.

Since then, she has written for her college newspaper and two community newspapers where she wrote restaurant reviews and articles for their “Best of” spread.

Her experience as an administrator in the marketing field gave her the opportunity to write ads for a local business journal.

After a 20-year detour and a three-year season of adversity, God reignited her passion to write. Two divine appointments later, the short story she wrote about her father appeared in the St. Paul Almanac, and a short story about her cocker spaniel Gigi was published in Guideposts (magazine) Mysterious Ways. She believes her adversity was worth the lessons God taught her.

During this year (2022) and the next (2023), Sarah’s devotionals will be published in The Secret Place by Judson Press, as well as David C. Cook’s Devotions and The Quiet Hour. To this day, she smiles, pinches herself and gives God all the glory.

When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys watching cooking shows, designing cards and mugs, and taking day trips.

Connect with Sarah:

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