“Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with a deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like lights in a world of crooked and perverse people.” ‒ Philippians 2:12-15 (NLT)
Back in the day, CliffsNotes were awesome! Wait until the last minute to read that 500-page novel? Then buy the short study guide that summarized the characters, plot, key events, and ending. But these abridged versions left out many nuances or aspects about characters and plot twists. While you got the report done, you never really developed a deeper understanding that your poor English teacher desperately wanted.
If we think about the plan God has for us and look at our lives, do we really desire CliffsNotes or the full version with all of the highs, lows, disappointments, and challenges?
God is writing chapters in the novel of your life. Sometimes you see God working and it all makes sense. Sometimes you cry out to God and it doesn’t seem like He’s listening. Sometimes you take steps of faith and don’t see or understand why.
God cares deeply about the “in-between” chapters of our lives. Those times are when we develop patience, perseverance, and character as He trains us for the plans He has yet to unfold. Just as the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before they entered the land of Canaan, we often have to wait a long time before we God’s plan unfold.
I can see moments—plot twists, if you will—when God called me to take a step of faith and walk in obedience to Him. There were times of disappointment. There were times where God blessed me. There were times when I had no idea what would happen next. My only direction from God was to obey. God cares about the “in-between” moments when He simply asks for obedience.
- Jeff Boothe