“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1 NIV)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
Letting our hearts be troubled, or “worrying”, as we’d word it today, is a decision we make: The decision to put our emphasis on something–anything!–rather than on Jesus! When we worry, it truly means that we worship at the wrong altar! It means that controlling our circumstances is more important to us than letting Jesus have control of our future!
We wonder why we don’t have peace, but the answer is clear: We don’t have peace because we are not in tune with Jesus, the One who encourages us to: “Trust in God; trust also in Me”! Have we erred so much from the straight and narrow path that we can no longer realize that Jesus is in control of our destiny?
This Sunday I realized that what I had planned during my youth, a future I had awaited with excitement and anticipation, had never occurred. Why? Because God had better plans for me. And I suspect that if you take the time to meditate on your trek through life, you, too, may come to the same conclusion.
In school, my interests always lay with Science and Math, and at the age of 16 I had my future completely planned out. After graduating from high school, I would attend university to become an electrical engineer.
Then a cog was rammed into the wheels of my planned future. My brother introduced me to people who had a Bible, a no-no for us Catholics in the old country. I fell in love with God’s Word, and I was encouraged to become a pastor. My personal dreams for my future disappeared the day, and I attended seminary instead. Four years later I graduated with a Master’s degree in Theology, with a major in Hebrew and a minor in Greek.
Hoping to obtain a PhD, I applied to a university in the U.S. Once there I was totally dismayed when I discovered that they would not accept my Master’s degree from Europe. I would have to spend another three years obtaining my Master’s before even being able to begin my PhD studies. I knew that this would financially tax my dad to the maximum, for he insisted on paying for all my studies. God bless him! As I couldn’t do that to him I was unsure what my next steps would be. Confused and disillusioned, I realized that the dream of my youth has all been thrown away for a degree I now could not afford to obtain.
But God had different plans for me. He made me remember my first days in kindergarten. Being French-speaking in a Flemish culture can be hard on any small child, and here I was, at five years of age, amidst strangers who were talking gibberish. The next year I barely passed first grade and my teacher insisted I repeat my year, due to my difficulties with Dutch.
Then God helped me to remember high school. I took English as my second language in high school, and here again I faced incomprehensible words. It didn’t help that the emphasis was solely on grammar and on translating from one language to another. Again I failed, and I had to retake my English exams during the summer in order to pass to the next grade. My teacher told me boldly: “You will never be able to ever speak in English”.
I was devastated, but years later, while attending seminary, I noticed that the many Americans and Canadians attending the language school attached to the seminary really hadn’t come to learn the beautiful French language, but instead, to discover Europe! Since they were speaking English all the time, I began to hang around with them, and within 3 months I was able to speak fluent English. A nearby high school soon heard about me and offered me a part-time job helping students who had difficulties with English. I also was offered a part-time job teaching a French lab at the language school.
I enjoyed these teaching opportunities, and as a result, I decided to go to teacher’s college instead of pursuing my PhD in Theology. Thus I needed only two years to finish my degree, instead of the five the PhD would have required.
This had been my destiny all along, and though I was initially rebellious, continuing to study computer and math classes on the side, once I fully accepted God into my life, I delighted in it. If I had not obeyed, I would have never met my wife, and my two terrific sons would never have come to be. I also would never have come to Canada, a fact which allowed me to help one of my family members start a new life by immigrating to Canada.
I also may have never discovered God the way I now know Him, and Answers2Prayer would never have existed. And I probably never would have been able to reach people for eternity through His strength that resides in me.
Although I was a total failure in learning languages, my loving Dad in heaven turned that around and made it my strength. Although I used to hate writing, this, too, He turned around, making it my delight. This Bible text became my reality: “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:10 NIV)
My Dad in heaven is truly the only one who gives inner peace. This peace didn’t exist in the days where my own plans were more important than anything else, but letting Him lead the way will always result in total satisfaction, even amidst the storms of life.
Would you like to experience Him fully?
(To access the entire “Jesus’ Deepest Desires” devotional series, please click here.)