When Faith is the ONLY Open Door...
“Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing."
- James 1:3-4
"What do you plan on doing after you graduate?" This is one of the two most despised questions any graduate student can get. The other is when will you graduate… *insert side eye*
I hate this question because it’s not that I don’t have an answer. In fact, I usually have about 4-5 different answers I could give of the possibilities of “what’s next.” But the honest answer isn’t so much that I don’t have any idea, but rather the real answer is quite terrifying. In this season, God has given me several very clear visions about what I am supposed to do in this season in preparation for the next (i.e. post-graduation). As exciting as they are because of the possibilities they present, they’re also very uncertain, and unstable.
But that’s where faith comes in. I listened to a sermon the other day by Stephanie Ike called “There is More” and in this sermon she reminded us that what may seem ordinary, in the hands of God can produce extraordinary results, so if God is telling you to do it you can trust the outcome. If you’re like me in this season, and God is telling you to move (or wait), as scary, as uncertain and as unsure as all of it may seem, trust Him. Trust that if you’re going through a process of what seems like a never-ending wait or struggle, but God is showing you something spectacular about your life, trust Him. Trust that if you’re still going through a healing process, that all the seeds you’ve been planting and that have been planted on the inside of you will begin to produce something beautiful if you stay the course.
I was reminded of this especially when a potential job opportunity for post-graduation came across my “desk” (my figurative desk of course, really just my email but I didn’t think it sounded as nice). It was a non-tenured track faculty position at my alma mater, and they were asking for someone with a PhD and a background in social justice and sustainability education with a start date of next July…. So did y’all write this job for me or nah?! Long story short, I was excited, it seemed like everything was aligning, and would give me the opportunity to move back to Atlanta with a bit more financial stability after graduation. Well, turns out the start date is different than was written on the job description and that pretty much put a stop to that. At first I was disappointed, but then I was reminded of everything God had already shown me and the truth is the stability and security of this job would have stalled the unsure path that I’m clearly meant to walk.
The moral of the story is this: what seemed like a perfect fit, and honestly would have been, wasn’t meant for me. Doors that seemingly should be open, aren’t opening and it’s because what I need to do and focus on requires way more faith and creativity in this season. The question for me and maybe you if you’re reading this is simply this- Will you trust enough what only you and God can see for your life in this present season? If other doors were meant to open, they’d be opening. But if they’re not, it’s because maybe, just maybe, what God has shown you He wants you to completely give yourself to in faith, in this season, and to trust Him to fill in the gaps of uncertainty along the way.
When I first started this blog a few years ago, I vowed to share not only the highlight reel of faith, but also the moments of tested faith and even unsure faith because there’s nothing more unsatisfying than walking this walk and only seeing or hearing testimonies on the other side, not in the middle of testing. I’d be lying if I said I’m feeling completely confident in moving forward with these two very uncertain tasks that are before me in this season, especially with the practicality of graduating [prayerfully] in a year and the reality of student-loan debt looming over my head. But as I’ve been reminded these past couple of days, if God is saying do it, there’s a reason, a reason worth trusting. And I’m grateful for the challenges I’ve faced recently because the truth is if I was told to do this any sooner, I wouldn’t. But God even knew that.
He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the syn can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.
I pray that if you’re like me, and you’re in a season of uncertainty, you’re encouraged by the fact that not only are you not alone, but that God is using this season to grow you, to stretch you, and to strengthen you so that you can withstand the visions He has placed in your heart. You are part of something beautiful God is doing in the world right now, amidst the chaos, and I pray that through the uncertainty you will trust Him enough to work in you and through you in such a way that can touch lives like this world has never seen. And when you feel tired, or uncertain or even afraid remind yourself of this question and continue to move forward in faith-Will you trust enough what only you and God can see for your life in this present season?
God, I thank you for times of uncertainty. I thank you for seasons that require complete trust and reliance on you. God I pray for my brothers and sisters who may find themselves in a similar situation, that we submit fully to your plans for our lives and for this world. I pray that you give us courage to step out beyond the fear and to co-create with you in the ways you desire for such a time as this. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
You see that [his] faith was working together with his works, and as a result of the works, his faith was completed [reaching its maturity when he expressed his faith through obedience].