In my post “Navigation” I presented the Truth that God guides us through His Word, His Holy Spirit, and through the prayerful, wise counsel of trusted Christ-followers in the Church. I also stated that circumstances sometimes confirm that we’re hearing from God and following His plan—but not always!
It’s important to understand that we can be right in the sweet spot of God’s will and still find ourselves in difficulties, spiritual battles, and physical trouble. There are many instances in the Bible when people did what God asked and empowered them to do, yet still endured hardship and even death.
The apostle Paul’s life and ministry is an example of this. There are a few places in the Bible where the Apostle Paul wrote about his suffering for the work Jesus Christ appointed him to do. Here’s one example:
“Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger”
2 Corinthians 6:4-5
If we were to judge Paul’s ministry based solely on his circumstances, we would be tempted to label it as a failure and might even wonder if he was hearing from God. However, the confirmation of God’s guidance in Paul’s life was not found in his circumstances, but in the fruit of the ministry and work he did in and for Christ.
When he walked the earth, Paul rejoiced at the fruit of God’s work that he saw: the people who came alive in the power of the resurrected Christ. I’m sure right now, in the very presence of God, Paul is utterly amazed and humbled that the letters He wrote so long ago were inspired and ordained by God to be included in the Bible! These letters—some written from prison cells and in dire circumstances—were a fruit and confirmation of God’s leading in Paul’s life.
When I go through difficult times and don’t know what to do, I come to God in prayer yielding my life, attitude, and circumstances to Him. I often pray aloud some Scripture verses, lacing them with praise and thanks to God. Here are two of my favorites:
“Search me, God, and know my heart: Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”
“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Worship is obediently trusting and following God in whatever circumstances we are in, knowing that His work in us always bears fruit that will last into eternity: even if we don’t see it right now.
Blessings to you, my friends!
(I’ve included a song this week to help you as you bring your life and circumstances to the Lord in prayer)