The Lord has set my course.
I stated this to my soul as I recognized the familiar, subtle rumbling of, “Should I be doing more?”, stirring up my thoughts and emotions into a whirlpool of subconscious unsettledness. It’s not that in that moment my plate wasn’t sufficiently full. It’s just that I was doing the same things day after day. I was still working toward the same, long haul goals, waiting for certain things to materialize (or receive confirmation that they wouldn’t), working through some tough situations that were taking a long time to resolve, and seeking to be faithful with loving my family, keeping my home, and accomplishing other commitments I’d prayerfully taken on. It was simply the same. Again, and again, and again.
Then that phrase above came into my mind, and with it memories of the many transpacific flights I’ve taken between the US and Asia. As a child, those hours felt like an eternity, going on and on without turns or altitude changes. The only thing that evidenced we were still moving forward was the occasional patch of turbulence. However, even though it felt like we were getting nowhere fast, that was far from the truth. The pilot was keeping us on our track, sticking to the route he’d been commissioned to complete. He could’ve added some thrills by swerving the plane on a detour or dipping into different altitudes for a change of scenery, but then he wouldn’t have been staying the course in the most faithful way. He was going to get us to our destination safely, simply, and excellently.
Many (of not all) of us are wired to want change in some way—change of season, change of scenery, change of menu, change of something. Yes, even those of us who like our “ruts”, like me, like a switch-up every once-in-a-while. Sometimes it’s the desire for a small or temporary change, like a vacation or painting a wall in our house. Other times, we feel desperate for a life-altering change: a job shift, a relationship to materialize, a health crisis to end.
Regardless of the significance, it brings about some level—from an itch to a deep ache—of struggle that makes faithfulness today difficult. But faithfulness isn’t proven in new opportunities: it’s proven in carrying out what we’ve been given to do over the long haul. It’s proven through monotony and patches of “turbulence” when we’re tempted to shift the course we know God has set for us, and hasn’t given any indication we’re supposed to change.
These words in Philippians 4:11-13 are so lifegiving when we’re feeling the struggle of being faithful in the trajectory God has charted for us.
“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
When God calls us to something, He doesn’t leave us to accomplish it in our own strength. He hasn’t just given us grace for the moments of crisis, but also for the next basket of laundry. He knows exactly how long each stretch of the road (or air) should last to mature and sanctify us in the ways we need it. All we have to do is look to Him, relying on His Spirit as we seek to be steadfast for His glory. When our motivation is love for Him flowing from His love for us, we’ll find renewed resolve and even delight in doing exactly what He’s put before us today.
Even if it looks just like it did yesterday.