One of the most exciting things in a life of a Christian is to search for God’s guidance. Sometimes it can also be very frustrating. Human beings can make plans but God will decide whether and when something will happen. Like Thomas à Kempis (c.1380-1471) has said “For man proposes, but God disposes; neither is the way of man in his own hands.” But because we desire God’s will and guidance for ourselves, we would not want it any other way. But how to live by faith when life is frustrating?
There sure is a lot of waiting involved in following God’s leading. There’s not a way around the fact that God’s timing is different than ours. We might think God is late but his timing is always perfect. Just think about Simeon to whom God had promised that he would see the Messiah before his death. He was getting older and older and nothing happened. But Simeon kept on waiting. And his faithfulness was rewarded. He got to held Jesus in his arms.
In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:
God, you can now release your servant;
release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
and of glory for your people Israel.
(Luke 2:25-32, MSG)
What was Simeon’s secret? The Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is the only way we can deal with frustration, waiting, and life. Without the Holy Spirit we can’t know God’s will. Without the Holy Spirit we can’t live empowered lives. We are dependent on God’s power in our lives. But it is readily available for all of us. Once we’ve welcome Christ into our lives, the Holy Spirit is our true companion. But we need to release its power in our lives day by day. God does not force his power on us. He wants to be invited. How do we do that?
Simply by asking God to fill us with his Holy Spirit.
Or by worshiping no matter how we feel.
Or by praying until praise flows.
Or by leaning on God on our own way.
It does not matter how we do it. We just need to acknowledge God’s presence and open the floodgates of the Holy Spirit. That’s what empowered living means. That’s what living in Christ means. When we are IN the Holy Spirit, nothing is impossible. But only then. On our own we are pitiful. But IN Christ we are invincible. On our own we are frustrated and unable to wait. But IN the Holy Spirit we live by faith not by sight. Only then we are able to wait.
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. (Hebrews 11:1, MSG)
Rick Warren once tweeted “God’s plan for your life isn’t a map you see all at once but a scroll unrolled a little at a time, requiring faith.” That’s exactly how it is. Very exciting but also sometimes frustrating. If we just could know what is going to happen! Or if we have been blessed by a calling or a vision we would just want to know how it’s all going to work out! But that’s not how it happens. We need to step out in faith instead. We need to believe in the unseen. We need to let go of frustration.
How are we able to do that? By applying the secret of Simeon to our lives: Releasing the power of the Holy Spirit day by day. Then one day also we will see God’s salvation with our own eyes. Come, Lord Jesus!
Thank you for having plans for us!
Give us patience to wait for your timing.
Give us courage to act in faith.
Give us faith to press on.
Guide us clearly!
Give us eyes to see
and ears to hear your voice!
Be praised forever and ever!
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: What are your frustrations about searching for God’s guidance? How do you discern God’s guidance in your life?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you search for God’s guidance. No matter how frustrating it might feel right now know that God has a wonderful plan for you and in his time it will come reality. Meanwhile, be obedient, take small steps of faith and