Have you ever asked yourself, are my greatest days behind me? Is there any hope for the future or, Did I End up here by Accident? Have You ever wondered how you ended up in the situation you find yourself in today? Have you ever look around and wondered why God allowed you to end up here? I have … and still do.
Have you ever questioned the wisdom of God and double-guessed yourself in the process? In the past did you made decisions based on values taught in the Scriptures, believing that by making Godly choices you would become a more contented person?
Have you ever, in those moments of frustration screamed, albeit inwardly, to the heavens and demanded, yes demanded, an answer from God?
If you have, how did it make you feel?
Photograph —Daniel-Cheung, Unsplash
Can I question God?
Growing up, I remember some well-meaning folk saying that I should never question God. You accept your lot and got on with it.
But is that how the scriptures depict life?—I don’t believe so.
Think of examples such as Moses (a prince of Egypt), stuck in the desert looking after a scraggly mob of sheep. Think of David (anointed king) being hunted by his conniving father in law, King Saul (1 Samuel 19, 1 Samuel 2)
What happened the promises, made by God and delivered by Samuel. Had God forgotten? were David's greatest days ahead of him?
What future did he have? What could he look forward to?
When there is no future
Then there’s Joseph, my all time hero—Joseph. The obnoxious upstart who had a dream. Not just one but two that he speaks about. Two dreams that got him into all sorts of trouble. Attacked and almost murdered by his brothers.
Talk about a dysfunctional family. Only the intervention his big brother Rueben provided a stay of execution (Genesis 37).
That was until they came up with a brighter plan. Let’s not kill him, let’s get rid of him for ever … and make some money on the side.
So off to Egypt Joseph went. A the camels disappeared over the desert horizon, so did his hopes … and future.
But God hadn't finished yet. God had a very cunning plan that saw those dreams come true in a way that even Joseph couldn't imagine. But that was way in the future.
Joseph had a vivid imagination but even he couldn't foresee how those past dreams would come true. Little did he know that his greatest days were in the future.
Do the principles still apply?
I loved those Bible stories. I was taught them by my mother as a toddler. I love them more today.
They had lessons that were pertinent then, and the principles they contain still apply today.
Joseph, Moses and David ended in greatness … But can those same principles apply to me?
Preparing for what?
John Wesley famously stated that, 'The best is yet to be'. My father taught me that as a teenager. It resonated them, and over the years, I've made it mine … 'My greatest days are in the future.'
I believed it in my teens as I looked forward to my twenties and beyond, when God would use me to great things for Him. But that was in the future.
I believed it in my twenties and thirties. Marriage, Children, family life, schooling. Life was good, but my greatest days were still in the future.
In my forties I still believed it … Study and more study. God was preparing me for His purpose. I didn’t know what that purpose was, but I knew, deep down, that it would be good. The scriptures taught me that. Lord what are You preparing me for?
I asked the question in my fifties and now in my sixties. Are my best days still in the future, or have they passed me by?
Is there more?
‘Lord, unless You haven’t noticed, I’m beginning to run out of time. Realistically, unless I live to be a hundred and twenty something, I have more years behind me than in front. Surely there must be more to life than this?’
The dream was to start-up and operate our own business. In the not too distant future we would be successful. Long hours, sleepless nights and a steep learning curve later success appeared to be in our grasp.
We had struggled. We'd seen two children born. Things were looking good. Then the recession struck!
Back in the late '90's Australia was hit be a recession. According to the Federal Treasurer, Paul Keating, 'this was the recession that Australia had to have (November 1990).
Interest rates rocketed to 20%. The amazing thing was that despite so much going wrong with the economy, we survived by worked long hours and dramatically cutting back. Our future was uncertain.
We came to the realisation that the business was not the platform to help us reach out dreams. We could either expand the business or stay small, but there was neither capital or expertise to grow any larger.
Being a sole trader had it’s advantages. There were disadvantages too— I was the business, and when I stopped working, the business stopped too!
While there was work everything was fine, but when work dried up, when we entered the years of financial drought. Doubt came as it’s worrisome partner.
There were only two options available.
Close up shop and become an employee again?
Cut our losses, sell the house and move on—Perhaps rent, while we sorted things out?
The future looked grim … I was glum.
God, Why are You so quiet?
‘Where are You in all of this?’ I cried out in frustration, as I stood in the living room. Hema, Shannon and Alysha had gone grocery shopping. I was at home alone with my troubled thoughts.
‘I thought You said that You would let us know what You wanted us to do—and months later You’ve said nothing! What’s going on?’
A few minutes and a few choice words later … I shut up.
We had been through tough times before and weathered the difficulties. New work eventually arrived after cold calling current and potential customers. This was different, like the drought in the time of Elijah (1 Kings 17) . Work had dried up, with no expectations of anything to redeem the situation. I was concerned!
‘Are you finished?’
‘Yes!’ (at least for the moment, I thought.)
‘What did I say I would do?’
‘You said, You would let give us clarity. You said You would let us know for sure when it was time to move on’, I mumbled.
‘And what have I said?’
‘Nothing … absolutely nothing. You’ve said nothing at all!’
I was angry again, and though I realised I was having a conversation with Almighty God, I had let my guard down and was being completely honest with Him and with myself!
When God says nothing
‘What does that tell You?
I stopped for a minute, confused. ‘What do You mean?’
‘I said nothing, correct?’
‘Yes … Nothing, not a single thing’
‘What do you think that means? Think it through. You asked Me for clear guidance about when You should sell your house, Correct?
‘And I said nothing.’
‘Yes’, the exasperation in my voice must have shown, but God was gracious.
You don't want us to sell
‘So?’ The silence demanded a response.
I began to process my thoughts out-loud.
Tweet 'Wisdom only comes through evaluated experience. Take time to reflect today.'—Rod Semple
‘So, If I asked You to tell me when to sell … and You didn’t answer…’ The answer to my question began to take form in my mind, ‘You don’t want us to sell?’
This was a question not a statement.
‘You will sell, but the time’s not quite yet. In the future. Be patient for a little longer’
Ahh, the lightbulb of recognition clicked on in my head. This is what God has been trying to teach me these those difficult times. And I was too dense to see.
Things didn’t improve, at least not immediately.
We survived, we matured, we moved eventually and the journey still continues. Different challenges, different adventures, different questions.
I still haven’t found what I’m looking for – but I still believe that my greatest days are in the future!
Over to You?
What about You , Are your greatest days still in the future? I believe so.
Wether you are in your teens, twenties, thirties … sixties, seventies and eighties, while you have breath I truly believe that your greatest days are in your future.
God has a purpose for you to be here … for such a time as this.
So my question to you this week is … What are you doing today to intentionally taking steps today to discover what that purpose is?
Get honest—Take time this week to spend time with God and get honest. Share your concerns and aspirations.
It will take time—Write down your questions and complaints set then aside for a few days.
Expect an answer—Come back and write the response you get. Free write if necessary.
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Until we chat next week,
The Blogging team