When reading the Bible, we think that what we are reading what was being written in real time. If you go through the historical books of the Old Testament, you read time and time again about how God was in control of the situation. There are lots of verses that say something like “Then God did this or that.” This happens often in the book of Acts as well. Paul would regularly write about how the Holy Spirit was leading him to one place or another. This forces us to start to wonder why isn’t God speaking this clearly to me? Why doesn’t the Holy Spirit direct me like he did with Paul? Our issue is not in if God is working in our lives; it is that we are not reading scripture correctly.
I am certainly not here to argue against God as being the chief actor in those situations. In fact, I am confident that he was. What I do want to point out is that all of those books were written well after the fact. Those writings are full of history and hindsight. Hindsight is an amazing thing. We often cannot begin to process events in our lives until we’ve stepped back and taken a much bigger picture look at what has happened. That is when we can truly begin to see what God is doing and has done in our lives. This is how every book in the Bible that talks about historical events was written. These were people who were able to look back at their lives and see God’s hand clearly at work.
Think about your life for a minute. Think about everything that has taken place in order for you to arrive at your current station, both the good and the bad. Think about all the decisions, both big and small, that brought you to where you are and made you to be you. I believe that you will quickly see that there was a higher power that was working in you and through you all along.
I think about my life and where I am now. I originally went to a college in Ohio to play football. That decision was about me not God. After a somewhat freak injury in practice that ended my playing career, I decided to transfer to Marshall. A large part of my choice was to go and be a part starting Young Life (a parachurch youth ministry). My plan from that point on was to graduate college and go on Young Life staff until I retired. I accepted a job to start Young Life in a little town in WV. After three years, I had to leave that job due to not being a particularly good fundraiser and the ministry running out of money. It just so happened that I had heard through the grapevine that a church in the area was looking for a Youth Minister. I showed up at the church and talked to the Pastor for a while. They hired me a few weeks later, and that is where I have been for the past five and a half years. All of this started with a decision that was not based around God, however it ended up being a step on the journey that he had planned out for me. Looking back, I can now easily see his hand at work. However, I asked God where he was many, many times along the way.
I tell you all of this to say that God is working in your life. You may not know it or may not feel it right now, but he is. The disciples spent three years physically walking beside Jesus and watching him perform miracle after miracle. One of the most ironic passages in scripture happens in Mark 8. This is where Jesus feeds the 4000. Most people are aware of him feeding the 5000, but there was also a second feeding with a different group. Jesus tells his disciples that they need to feed the crowd. Their response is, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?” (Mark 8:4) The ironic part about this is that this happens AFTER the feeding of the 5000. They have already seen Jesus feed an enormous crowd with very little, yet they’re not sure how he’s going to do it this time. Even the disciples didn’t fully understand how God worked, despite being with him most days. Don’t feel bad if you’re not sure how he is working in your life.
The best news that I can give you is that your story is not finished. God is still moving and orchestrating things in your life that you wouldn’t believe even if he told you. You are running the race that he has marked out for you, even if you don’t understand what he is up to. It’s ok if you are struggling to find how God is working in your life. Always remember that it is easiest to see God’s work in hindsight. We should do our best to try and figure out where he is leading us now, but sometimes that is simply impossible for us to see in the moment. Take solace in this, at some point in the future, you will look back at this very moment and say, “I see what God was doing then!” This is where faith comes in. We need to trust that God is guiding the thread that is weaving our lives together. He is always working in our lives, especially when we don’t understand what is happening. You are in the middle of God doing a great work in you and through you. Trust that to be so, and do all that you can to follow him. If we can do those two things, then the rest will fall in place, just as he desires.