Trusting the Lord in Challenging Circumstances
By Caroline Hermann
God knows the plans He has for me. I trust Him. And when plans don’t turn out the way I think they should, I can still trust that His plan is better than what I had in mind.
During my first few years of teaching, I had a wonderful mentor across the hall from me. But due to an increase in population, the middle school was to be split into two campuses. Teachers were given the opportunity to request their preference — go to the new campus or remain at the current one. I requested to go to the new campus, where my mentor was going. My request was denied.
At the time, our middle school was broken into “teams” composed of four teachers — one from each of the four core content areas. With all the staffing reassignments, new teams were being created. Those of us remaining on the current campus had the opportunity to request with which team we would like to work. I submitted my preferences, listing team members who had a reputation of being easy to work with. My request was denied. Instead, I was assigned to a team with some of the most challenging teachers (from my point of view). More than that, I was then named team leader — over teachers much older and more experienced than I.
I wanted to complain! I was probably the only teacher who was turned down on every count. And how was I supposed to lead this new team? I wasn’t qualified! Instead of complaining, I chose to trust that God knew the circumstances of my situation. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” So trusting that God’s plans for me were better than my own, I approached the new assignment with prayer and chose to have a good attitude.
The apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that we can’t imagine what God has prepared for us. I’m sure he’s referring to a more spiritual application, but I experienced that truth during my time working in this new teaching assignment. The “challenging teachers” on my team turned out to be supportive, encouraging, and looked for ways to highlight my strengths. In addition, during my time with this team, I taught some of the most memorable students of my teaching career in some incredibly rich experiences — experiences I would have missed if God had allowed my initial requests to be granted.
In retrospect, I can see God’s blessing in placing me exactly where He did — even though it didn’t feel like that initially! I’m thankful that I didn’t miss the richness of those blessings. Timothy Keller said, “If we knew what God knows, we would ask exactly for what He gives.” That proved to be true in my situation! If I could have seen beforehand what was coming, I would have lined up my formal requests to stay at the same campus and work with the “challenging” team. God knew!
It is especially good to remind myself of these truths when the circumstances don’t seem to be so wonderful. I would still choose exactly this if I knew the whole picture — if I saw from His point of view. He is faithful. He is trustworthy — worthy of my trust.
Scripture reminds me over and over about His faithfulness:
1 Corinthians 1:9
…God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
1 Corinthians 10:13
…And God is faithful…
1 Thessalonians 5:24
…The one who calls you is faithful…
2 Thessalonians 3:3
…But the Lord is faithful…
2 Timothy 2:13
…he will remain faithful…
…for he who promised is faithful…
1 John 1:9
…he is faithful and just…
It’s easy to look back and see His faithfulness, His goodness, and His plans. But what about when we’re in the midst of (or just entering) difficult circumstances? Will you choose to trust Him before you know the outcome? He is faithful, and His plans are good!