When challenges arise, what’s the real answer?
“Where do You want me to be next, God?”
I had been agonizing over that question ever since I was made redundant from my radio job. It was a stressful season, as I not only lost my job but watched friends and family members get laid off too, due to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy. Every day the news seemed to carry dire stories about a deepening recession and an increasing rate of unemployment. As I scrolled through job ads, even though I didn’t often see any roles that seemed right for me, I felt sure that God would provide. I just wanted to know what God’s plan would look like! I wanted to be sure that whatever I did next was the right thing. I kept praying, “Where do You want me? What should I do?” But no revelation came.
I hated the uncertainty. Eventually, I became so frustrated that I decided to go on a retreat. I needed time to rest and think, with the help of a change of scene and pace. Perhaps it would be easier to sense God’s leading if I was less uptight. So I traveled to the quiet, nearby island of Jersey, between France and England, and there I felt my anxious spirit beginning to calm. As I walked along beaches and down country lanes, I asked God once more, “Where do you want me to be?” This time, I heard His answer.
“With Me,” He said.
The thought was clear, sudden, and startling. “With Me.”
As the idea settled into my heart, I realized that although this was not the specific kind of answer I had been hoping for, it was the answer I needed.
During the remainder of my break, God confirmed that idea through other things I read and listened to. I began to see more clearly that the most important need of my heart was not to know my next destination, but to seek God along the journey—to walk with Him and get to know Him better. In fact, a season of rest and uncertainty presented precisely the right conditions to accomplish this.
I thought of Bible characters who had faced various unknowns in their stories: Jacob, returning to the land of his birth and family after tricking his brother, Esau; Moses, being called to speak to Pharaoh; Joshua, bringing the Israelites into the Promised Land; and the disciples, being commissioned as missionaries. God never gave these people a full map of the plan with each twist and turn explained in detail. But to each of them God said, “I will be with you” (cf. Gen. 31:3; Ex. 3:12; Deut. 31:23; Matt. 28:20). That promise was enough. God’s presence would be enough.
Today, God whispers the same promise into our hearts, even in our seasons of uncertainty (cf., Isa. 43:2, Heb. 13:5, 6). He invites us to make seeking Him our first priority, as we watch our stories unfold and our needs supplied (Matt. 6:31-33).
“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds” (Ps. 73:28, NIV).*
* Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright ã 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.