After a much appreciated break over Easter, the Interns were back to business last week, ready for our final term of interning. As for many people, final term has brought with it the question of ‘next year’. Yet another decision to be made about what to do, where to go; more prayers to the Lord for guidance, and a whole lot of waiting. Waiting for the certainty that the path I am about to choose is the God-ordained path.
And yet the lesson that God is having to teach me year after year is that He may not give me the writing on the wall. He may not clearly indicate which place to go or what job to do.
Whilst I have often been frustrated at the seeming lack of answer to my prayers for guidance, I have started to realise that this is just not the case. God does answer, simply in ways different to what I want and expect.
God may not reveal to me ahead of time the place or job to do, but what He does reveal to me clearly is the plans He has for who I will become next year. All I have to do is open up the Bible to hear God speaking His will into my life. His will is that I become more like Christ, being transformed ‘from glory to glory’ (2 Corinthians 3:18). So the answer to my requests for guidance have come through exhortations to ‘grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour’ (2 Peter 3:18) and to be ‘transformed by the renewing of your mind’ (Romans 12:2).
It would seem that in order to be on the same page as God for what lies ahead, we need a shift in perspective. We need to realise that God deeply cares about us growing up in Christ (Ephesians 4:15), and often this is more important than us going to a specific place or job.
Don’t get me wrong, I think God cares about these things, and it is good to think your options through and talk to other wise people; I also know that He does guide people to specific places and things at certain times – we have only to read Acts to see that. But what I’m saying is that when we do not receive specific guidance on these issues, God is not refusing to answer your prayers, He is simply answering it differently to how you are expecting. After all, His revealed will, our sanctification, is not limited to us choosing one specific place or job. God is bigger than our external circumstances and ‘works all things for the good of those who love him’ (Romans 8:28).
So, to anyone else thinking about what lies ahead, who is praying yet feeling none the wiser, maybe it is time to ask God to shift your perspective, to realign your priorities and to ask for His guidance as to how He wants to grow and change you over the next year. Perhaps then you will get an answer to your request for guidance.