Prov 16:9 – A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.

Prov 21:31 – The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance and victory are of the Lord.

Psalm 33:22 – Let Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us, in proportion to our waiting and hoping for You.

Lamentations 3:25 – The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him

My question as I start the New Year – when do we submit and assume that present circumstances, however painful they are, are from the Lord and are being used for our sanctification?  And when do we work to change our circumstances?    Or to pose the question another way – do we do nothing in a trying situation and trust the Lord to bring about change?  Or do we do something and trust the Lord that He will guide our strivings?

Maybe I’m committing the fallacy of bifurcation, setting the question up as an either/or dilemma.  It’s hard to know.

In past decisions that we have made as believers, my husband and I waited for a sign and then acted, all along trusting that God was in the whole process, guiding it.  For example, three years ago I asked God for a sign to leave my former school and it eventually came (the waiting and trusting part).  Then I had to find another job (the action and trusting part).  More recently, we wanted to leave our former church.  We waited until my husband felt the time was right.  We looked (action) for another church and settled in quickly.

Now we are in a situation that feels heavy with import.  My husband is in a job that is unbearable most days – it sucks his soul dry.  He dreads it.  Through it all, he has depended on God for a good attitude and to help him to make a contribution.  And God has sustained him.  Is this ‘wrong’ job part of the sanctification process and therefore it would be a mistake to seek out something else?  Or maybe the whole trusting God through the job search adventure is the sanctification process?  Scripture seems to counsel both:  waiting and doing.

I think a situation similar to ours would be one in which a couple would like to have children but can’t seem to get pregnant.  Do they take things into their own hands and try fertility treatments?  Do they start the adoption process?  Or do they just accept they are childless and leave it as being their ‘chosen, assigned portion’, their cup or lot.   What do we do with those desires – the desire for a child, the desire for a job that brings joy?

At times I don’t know what to think.  As a wife, I want to give my husband good, biblical counsel.  I don’t want to steer him wrong and fall into traps similar to those that tripped up our first mothers (Eve, Sarah, Rebecca).  I can be encouraging to him one night and then fearful in the morning.  Nonetheless, here is how I leave the dilemma at the end of each day.  I remind myself and trust myself to God’s hands and His unchanging sovereignty.  After all, we are just pilgrims on His journey.  He IS directing the journey.  He put us on this planet at this time, in this country, among these people, with this skill set and outlook.  He, alone, has the plan.  This impatient traveller wants a glimpse at the map!