Trusting In God's Plan
I stood at the top of the cliff as I watched the white waves crash against the black rocks that lined the beach beneath me. The cliff walk on Rhode Island was easily one of the most beautiful views I had ever witnessed. Rhode Island was just one of the many states I had visited that week on a road trip with my friend Gina. Just days before, we had explored Portsmouth, NH, Boston, MA, and Newburyport, MA and travelled through Connecticut and Maine. If someone would have told me at the beginning of this past summer that I was going to travel to almost every state in New England, I would never have believed them.
The past three years, I spent my summer stuck in my small steel-mill town along the Ohio River, suffocating under the weight of complacency. Right before summer started, I prayed for adventure in my life. In my head, I assumed God would answer my prayers with an internship in a big city, allowing me to escape the confines of my hometown. However, when the internships I applied to fell through, my hopes for adventure shattered. I looked to God in anger, feeling as if he had ignored my prayers. I thought I could trust Him with my deepest desires and He would fulfill them. But with my image of living and working in a big city ruined, I began to sink into my normal summer-dazed depression, losing hope that the Lord would ever answer me.
But, as I should have known, our God is a God of surprises. This summer, he not only fulfilled my expectations but exceeded them. Not only did I explore almost all of the states in New England, but I also traveled to New York City and to the beach for the first time in New Jersey. Going to New Jersey on my own with my younger sister showed me how capable I am of traveling to a new place without getting lost or allowing my anxiety to take over, fostering an even greater sense of wanderlust within me (blog post on this soon).
It just so happened that my friend Gina decided to stay in my hometown that summer as well. Developing an even closer relationship with her was most definitely the Lord’s providence. She taught me to live more freely, trust the Lord more deeply, and see myself and others through God’s eyes. All of the late night car rides blasting music, Dunkn’ donuts trips, and inside jokes we formed are some of the best memories I will hold onto forever. The bond I have with her now is one of the biggest blessings the Lord has ever given me, and the fruits from our friendship still flow forth every day.
Being home most of the summer also enabled me to continue to work with my doctors to treat my depression and anxiety, which helped me learn to handle my symptoms to have an even more enjoyable summer.
Although I began this summer with a heavy heart, I ended it filled with contentment and peace. Had I taken one of the internship positions I had planned to work, I would have missed out on the adventures the Lord had planned for me and the beautiful people He wanted to place in my life.
Sometimes the Lord lets our plans unravel and our expectations be shattered so that He can map out an even more fulfilling path for us. The Lord does know the desires of our hearts, and only He knows how to truly satisfy them, even when we don’t understand what He is doing.
When things did not go my way, I allowed the rejection to foster bitterness and anger in my heart toward God. But, when I finally let go of the expectations of what I wanted my life to look like and accepted where God placed me, He worked His magic. His answers to our prayers may not look as we imagined, but the Lord is always there, present, working for our good.
Whether it is as small as your summer plans or as big as the career path you should pursue after graduation, trust that God will lead you to where you need to be to do His will. Trust that He will not leave you destitute.
When you pray for something, be prepared for the Lord to answer your prayer in the most beautiful, and sometimes unexpected, way.