God's plan

Finding God’s Vision for Our Lives

Have you ever tried to navigate around a strange house in the dark? I have and I had bruises and a stubbed toe to prove it. Because I couldn’t see, I lost my way. With vision, I would have had no problem getting where I wanted to go.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18). Other versions of the Bible say that people without vision wander astray, run wild, or stumble. Without vision, we get lost and we fall. With vision, we have purpose, direction, and guidance.

God has a perfect vision for our future. I have sometimes struggled to understand God’s vision for my life. Maybe you have, too. Sometimes we make it harder than it really is.

God doesn’t try to keep his vision a secret. A lot of what he wants us to do is plainly written in his Word. God wants us to love our families, to share what we have with people less fortunate, to be kind.

Also, God promises to direct the steps of his children: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…” (Psalm 37:23). He makes sure we don’t walk in the wrong direction: “Your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).

God may not announce his vision for us with lightning, thunder, and a shout. It’s more likely to come through Scripture, prayer, and a still small voice. And we may not see the plan for our entire journey. Often, we are just shown our next step.

Taking that next step is vital. It connects where we are today to the place God wants to take us in the future. It’s the process that turns the vision into future reality.

God has a vision for my life and for yours. Through prayer, reading the Bible, and taking steps of obedience, we can live out his vision for our lives. I pray God will open our spiritual eyes to see his vision and give us courage to take our next steps.

Heavenly Father, I need your direction in my life. Give me a vision of your love and your mighty power. Give me a vision of what you want to do in my life and show me the next step I need to take to move toward it. I ask for faith to believe that what you plan for me, you will bring to pass. In Jesus’s name, amen.

fruit of the spirit

Joy Part 2: Quiet Confidence

“Your goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all of my life, and afterwards I will live with you forever in your home.” (Psalm 23:6)

So, Cinderella—she had a rough go of it, right? Evil stepmother. Jealous stepsisters. Fun fact: Her original name was Ella, but since she cleaned the cinders out of the fireplace, her stepsisters started calling her Cinderella, and the mean nickname stuck.

Do you know how the story ends? No, not with the Fairy Godmother. No, not with the mice and pumpkin and glass slippers. No, not even with marrying the prince.

We all know how it ends: She lived happily ever after. Just like Snow White, Rapunzel, Ariel, and Sleeping Beauty. Fairy tale authors hand out happily-ever-after endings all over the place.

Y’all, happily ever after isn’t real. But joyfully ever after is a very-real gift from God.

Kay Warren says this about joy: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”

It seems that, if joy is an option, it wouldn’t take much to persuade Christians to embrace it. But the truth is, we find it difficult to remain joyful when things aren’t going our way. Could it be that we don’t really believe what we profess? Could it be that deep down we doubt whether God is going to make everything right in the end?

Joy is a supernatural gift from God. It flourishes in a heart confident of God’s intention and power to make all things end up as they should. If we find ourselves daunted and fearful about our circumstances, we may also find our joy diminished.

Do we truly realize what our future holds? According to Psalm 23:6, God’s goodness will be with us every day for all of our years on earth. His kindness will never fail us. We are surrounded by his tender care every minute of our earthly lives. When this life is over, jackpot! We move into heaven, where the splendor is beyond anyone’s ability to imagine.

We may have troubles in this world, but temporary trouble doesn’t change our future. God’s children will ultimately be OK. Believe it.

If you’re having trouble with joy, here’s some practical advice from Psalm 95:1: “Come on, everyone! Let’s sing for joy to the Lord! Let’s shout our loudest praises to our God who saved us!” So many Bible verses associate singing, shouting, and praise with joy. When you’re running short on joy, try shouting a praise at the top of your lungs. Or enthusiastically singing a worship song. Or a roar a heartfelt hallelujah.

Our God is faithful. Our future is amazing, and it’s guaranteed. We have every reason to abound in joy.

Dear God, I want to live “joyfully ever after.” When my world is noisy and confusing, help me rest in your quietness and peace. When I don’t see how things can turn out OK, help me focus on your provision and kindness. Let me shout your praise and sing for joy in the midst of any storm. Fill me with your joy. In Jesus’s name, amen.