Messy Plans. Present God.
“If only I could just prepare for…” You fill in the blank. Ending with, “I would feel a whole lot more….” Again, you fill in the blank with something like -- peace, secure, comforted, trusting, etc. I feel like my to-do lists are mounting up and my brain is in a whirlwind as we figure out how to “prepare for” all the different situations that could arise. For some of us right now, we don’t know how to prepare or what to prepare for. How do you prepare when you don’t know what is up ahead, advice is different on all sides, and you don’t know what is true? Trust me. I get it.
I feel for those that are trying to prepare for students to go back to school -- whether that is administration making policies and procedures, teachers having to figure out online/in-class learning, parents trying to get themselves and kids ready for these new changes… If only someone could give me the to-do list to make this easy, I could be better prepared and then I would feel…. Do you see where I am going here? What I am saying is -- if only I could have control of my life -- everything would workout. However, we know as Christian’s that it can be a recipe for disaster. We know that if we are driving, we will either 1. Go straight into a ditch from exhaustion or 2. Go straight into a ditch because we will get distracted rather than focusing on the road up ahead aka God.
There is a quote from Jesus Always that I have saved in my prayer journal and it seems fitting that I was looking over my prayers the other night and was reminded of my need for this right now -- “You are looking ahead at uncertainties, letting them unnerve you. Fear and discouragement are waiting alongside your pathway into the future-- ready to accompany you if you let them. Yet I am always with you, holding you by your right hand. Because I live beyond time, I am also on the path up ahead -- shining brightly, beckoning you on, encouraging you to fix your gaze on Me.” No matter what is up ahead that I can’t see and even in those moments that I try to plan out what will happen -- God is in control of it and He CAN see it. He knows the twists and turns of the future -- for me, for you, for Shepherd of the Hills, for our Nation, for the COVID-19 virus, for schools starting up, for Racial Reconciliation, for families, for marriages, AND let it be know-- He is guiding us along the way.
If you are feeling discouraged right now while trying to prepare, feeling overwhelmed, feeling like you don’t know what way is up or down -- please remember, Christ is there. He is with you in this and walking alongside you in the messy. He knows what is up ahead and how wonderful is that peace to know that we won’t ever go a day without Him; even when this life comes to an end. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8. I pray as you are making decisions and plans for the future -- that you pray; that you take time to reflect with God, that you give over your fear and worry to God, and then that you listen. That you still yourself long enough to hear what He has to say. That you open up His Word and rest in the infallible truth that is within it. I also urge you to pray for Shepherd of the Hills, as we continue to plan, prepare, and carry out ministry here in an uncertain time -- may God continue to guide us, like I know He will.
In His Love,
Jessica Tibben was installed as Director of Family Life at SHLC in December 2019. She was previously working in Denison, IA as Director of Youth and Family Ministry for the past 5 years. She loves being able to serve both youth and families and bringing them to know more about Jesus.