Column: The Emily Angle – Seniors entering into a season of uncertainty must trust in God
With graduation on the horizon for many college seniors, the future seems to loom constantly in our minds.
What’s next? Truthfully, we don’t really know. And we never really will, as hard as we try. Not one of us knows what tomorrow holds.
As hard as we try to micromanage each day, what we plan is a mere prediction, at best. Tomorrow is riddled with questions and uncertainty.
With confidence, we mark our calendars and set our schedules, and there is nothing wrong with this. The wrongdoing comes when we idolize our plans and believe the future we imagine is set in stone.
We wish for our dreams to come true, according to our timetable. We make the itinerary and expect it to play out seamlessly. We crave control, predictability and certainty when not even tomorrow is promised.
Pridefully, we forget this is not really up to us. When I began to make plans for the new year, I was reminded of this reality: “many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 10:21).
This is not to downplay the importance of planning or taking action. To not plan is unwise and lazy, according to Scripture, but to expect a clear vision of the path before us is to negate our trust in God.
American ethicist John Kavanaugh served those on the verge of death for three months at “The House of the Dying” in Calcutta, India, as he searched for an answer to what he should do with his life. During his time in Calcutta, he met Mother Teresa, according to Crossroads Counselor.
Mother Teresa asked how she could pray for Kavanaugh and he responded, “pray that I have clarity,” to which she responded, “no, I will not do that.”
Kavanaugh asked her why not and she said, “clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of … I never had clarity. What I always have is trust, so I will pray that you trust God.”
We seek clarity and ask God to show us exactly what the path before us will hold. Lysa Terkeurst says God is faithful enough to shed light to show us our next step, but if he revealed too much, we would run ahead with pride. If we had perfect clarity in our futures, there would be no need to have faith in the unseen and trust Him in the unknown.
The only thing certain is uncertainty. This poem by an unknown author addresses the importance of doing the next right thing despite an unclear tomorrow.
“… many a questioning, many a fear, / Many a doubt, hath its quieting here. / Moment by moment, let down from Heaven, / Time, opportunity, and guidance are given. / Fear not tomorrows, child of the King, / Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing
Do it immediately, do it with prayer; / Do it reliantly, casting all care; / Do it with reverence, tracing His hand / Who placed it before thee with earnest command. / Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing, / Leave all results, do the next thing.”
Sometimes we are so preoccupied with the future that we neglect the tasks and opportunities right before us. Obedience is taking the next step forward in the here and now.
As I look past graduation and into the decade before me, I can plan and dream all I want, but ultimately, the decision does not belong to me. I take great comfort in this fact. As we step into the unknown, let us focus on just doing the next right thing. No matter how big or small.
Taking the next step. Saying the next yes. Making the next move. Traveling the next path. Opening the next door.
May we all make 2020 the year of doing well what is before us as we focus on the next right thing.
Wood is the editor-in-chief. You can keep up with her over on Twitter.