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Some moments carry more weight for our future than others. Some things that we read or hear stick with us for months, maybe years, and give us encouragement and guidance as we take our next step into the unknown we call the future. I write such things down—keep a note or open a file and capture the thought—as I never know when I may need the reminder. On March 17, 2019 the gravity of life events had pulled me deeply into despair, and I could not summon the energy to even begin to climb out. That morning I connected to the YouTube broadcast from Christ Baptist Church in Raleigh and listened in as Pastor David Hogg made this statement, “God works in my life to prepare me for the moment I can’t yet see.”

On that morning I could look backward and list point after point of how I had seen God work in recent months to guide, direct, superintend, and shape me. God proves Himself faithful time after time. I chose instead to look around and make a list of the challenges engulfing me. Tumultuous 2018 had given way to the upheavals of 2019, and all I could manage was to tread water waiting for the next wave’s baptism.

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As I looked to the future I saw a void and doubts rushed to fill it. Had I run past the end of God’s plan for me? Had He abandoned me? Was I done, and had He benched me to run out the clock? The words from David Hogg cracked the darkness like a bolt of lightning on a dark summer night.

God works in my life to prepare me for the moment I can’t yet see.

I’ve learned that I cannot understand God’s workings or plan ahead with the assumption that He will respond as I expect. I’m also painfully aware that God never experiences the common human malady of panic.  He works on His own schedule outside the limitations of time. With hindsight I’ve grasped the truth that many of the prayers I prayed and requests I made were not the best. God retains control. Thankfully. He’s much smarter than I am, and He has a plan…for me.

Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has informed Him?
Isaiah 40:13 NASB

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 NASB

Slowly I’ve grasped that God often uses solitude, a positive experience, to shape His children.

  • Moses completed forty years of grooming for leadership only to invest the next forty on the backside of the wilderness tending sheep.
  • Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and marked two years in an Egyptian prison for crimes he never committed.
  • Elijah succumbed to the stress of spiritual warfare and ran away in panic. God planned some much-needed quiet time for the weary prophet.
  • David the anointed king lived in the woods and caves for years as he waited on God’s timetable.
  • Paul found himself in Roman custody, and the Roman governor, Felix, left him in confinement for two years.

Did those servants accomplish anything during or after their periods of timeout? Any character changes made or personal strengths developed? Did the solitude bring about a positive shift for them? Their lives make impressive studies in what can be accomplished when hearts are focused wholeheartedly on God.

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We tend to dismiss our time alone, our days out of circulation, as loneliness, a negative experience. I had quiet, solitude, and some ideas for how I would invest my future, but at every turn I found another roadblock. I was trying to interpret my future based on my past experiences. But what if God wanted to use the solitude to prepare me for something new?

God works in my life to prepare me for the moment I can’t yet see.

This verse jumped off the pages of Scripture one morning, and I took time to write it out longhand to leave in my pile of notes on my desk. My relationship with God is not primarily about doing; it is about being. Being close to Him. Knowing what He values. Seeing life through His eyes.

I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know Me more than I want burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:6 NLT

Solitude is my time to:

Get serious about the Word of God. Read it in large portions and small chunks. Sign up for an online Bible study course. Listen to or watch sermons. The resources available to you and me dwarf what Moses carried with him as he tended sheep in the wilderness.

Go deeper in prayer. Make it two-way, not always talking or reciting a list. Sit quietly or munch on a good Bible verse until the flavor whets your appetite. Listen carefully. Read the Psalms aloud. Do a study on the prayers people prayed in the Bible and pray those words. For example, did Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9-10) know much about prayer? Anything in his words that might apply to me?

Know for sure and certain that God is at work. Still. Always. Especially in the solitude. I am not forgotten or cast aside or used up. My heart is ticking so He has a plan. His time schedule is nothing like mine though, and I must learn to wait.

God works in my life to prepare me for the moment I can’t yet see.