Thy will be done.
It is well with my soul.
These sayings and more are written to give us comfort when life seems to utterly break us. It must be God’s will. Something better is just around the corner. Consistently the top worship songs on any countdown are songs about struggles, overcoming our trials, and trusting God when we have absolutely nothing else to trust.
But what about when God’s will hurts us? What about when we are left with nothing but our faith to lean on? How can it be God’s will if it breaks our hearts?
As a recent college graduate, I know a thing or two about the devastating power of God’s will, and also of His unwavering faithfulness in the midst of my doubts. About two months ago, when I was knee deep in applications, Indeed.com messages, and updating my Linkedin profile, I was offered an internship out of the blue. A company reached out to me and offered me a full-time internship for the summer at a digital marketing firm. The chance of it becoming a full-time position was so high that they didn’t even want to give me an end date on my internship. It seemed like an absolute dream come true to someone who was beginning to believe that God had forgotten about her in His quest to give everyone around me their dream jobs. But here was my chance. God had finally answered my prayers. Honestly, it was too good to be true.
Then, at 10 pm five nights before I was supposed to move to my uncle’s house to start my internship and what I thought was the rest of my future, I received a startling email. I thought it would be to elaborate on the email they had sent me the morning before about securing my state date for Monday, instead, I received an email that told me that they actually didn’t have enough work for me to do this coming summer. So, ultimately, they needed to rescind their offer because they couldn’t afford me. To say that I was crushed was an absolute understatement. This was my future, my happily ever after, and now they were just going to take it back?
I turned off my computer and glanced around my crowded room that was filled with unpacked boxes and papers with to-do lists on them. I had just rerouted my mail this morning, permanently I might add.
But I hadn’t even sought out this company. I had gotten an email with their offer as suddenly as they had rescinded it. And I was left with no summer job, no job prospects, and no idea what my future was going to hold. At the moment, all I had was tears, disappointments, and outrage at God.
How could He allow this to happen to me? Why was it always me that was going through something?
It doesn’t help that as young adults who have just graduated from college, we have this innate desire to try to one-up each other on social media. That even though none of us have any clue what we are doing, we still feel the need to pretend that we do. It’s so easy to look at someone’s perfectly Instagrammed picture of their new apartment and not see the loneliness and fear that they are feeling. It’s easy to look at people’s excited Snapchat stories about them starting their first day of work, and not see the exhaustion they have every day from their long hours. It’s easy to put on a façade online, when we’re all facing the trial of trying to put what we’ve learned in classrooms into real jobs. It’s easy to see people vacationing to exotic places or maybe getting engaged, and thinking that they have it all together. To think that God must love them more than you. It is easy to feel like you are the only jobless loser on the face of this earth and that you are going to die alone in your parent’s house. Trust me, I’ve thought that for the past month practically. And I wish I could tell you that I turned to God right away when I heard the news. That I rushed into the word and didn’t let the devil instill fear into my heart. I wish I could tell you that. But I would be lying.
I didn’t do any of those things. I cried myself to sleep, woke up the next morning and wallowed around in my pjs all day, and definitely made sad bitter remarks of my outcome to my friends and family whenever I could squeak it in. I was a girl who felt utterly abandoned by God. Luckily, I am not someone who wallows long. I dived back into the word, back into my applications, and reached out to my professors for help with connections. I prayed on my knees every single day that God would provide me with something, anything. So I wouldn’t be stuck in my college hometown working at Tommy Hilfiger when all my underclassmen friends returned to school. I tried my best to have faith, even when I felt like the last two years of my life had been a constant battle with God to get a sliver of happiness for longer than three months. Maybe that’s slightly melodramatic, but still, I was upset.
In my time of desperation there were two things that kept me going. A song by Hillary Scott and a story about an old king named Hezekiah.
Hillary Scott has written a song recently that is climbing up the Christian charts called Thy Will. It is about wanting God’s will to prevail, even if it means we have to be hurting. That God’s will needs to come first, not our happily ever afters. A lyric from the song that resonated with me is,
“ I don’t wanna think, I may never understand. That my broken heart is part of your plan.”
Do you ever think that your trial, brokenness, and hurt could be part of God’s plan? That He has a purpose in our trials that we might never understand or see a purpose for. The most impactful part of that song( which I have attached at the bottom of this post) was that I was someone who regularly prayed for God’s will to be done in my life. I prayed that God would give me the desires He had for me and that His will would be done in my life even if it hurt. But I didn’t really mean it. I don’t think many of us do when we pray that courageous prayer. Of course, we want God’s will to be done, but only when it’s for our ultimate good. Of course, it’s God’s will when we meet our future husbands by chance, when we get our dream jobs, when we get the raise when we get into the sorority, when our families are healthy and striving. But what about when our jobs get cut, when we have no job, when we send out application after application only to hear nothing, when we are lonely in our first apartment, when we can’t find a church body that agrees with us, and when we can only afford cereal for dinner each night. How can that be God’s will?
Many people marvel and question what God’s will can truly be for their lives. It can be hard for them to make tough decisions because they are afraid God will punish them if they make the wrong choice. But God is omnipotent and omnipresence, He knows every thought we’ve ever had and the quietest desires of our hearts. He alone will always know what we are going to choose.
“For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.”- Romans 8:28
He isn’t just working for your good when everything is going well, He is working for your good and protecting you even in your toughest trials and moments. He was working for my good even when I didn’t get that internship. He was still working through my hurt and pain.
“When are times are good be happy; but when times are bad consider: God has made one as well as the other.”- Ecclesiastes 7:14
If we didn’t suffer, we would not be refined by God, and thus we would not be able to properly appreciate His blessings. Shockingly, the process for refining gold or minerals is not an easy one. It involves melting the gold, pouring acid over it, burning it, stirring it around, and hardening it. And it isn’t just your “friendly kitchen acid”, it’s nitric acid, hydrochloric acid. The process is so intense that it can only be completed in labs. Essentially you have to break down, destroy, and harden gold to get it to become the beautiful treasure we pay hundreds and thousands of dollars to possess. God is breaking you down to make you beautiful. He is going to use what you are going through right now as a story to encourage others, to strengthen your faith, and to be living proof of His faithfulness.
In 2 Kings 19, we are confronted with a story that takes place during King Hezekiah’s reign. King Hezekiah, unlike the kings before Him, followed the ways of the Lord. In this story, the commander of the Assyrian army is threatening Jerusalem with war. And this was not a threat to be taken lightly. The Assyrians were the ultimate war dogs of the time period. They completely destroyed any army that was placed in their tracks and made slaves of all the nations they defeated. Assyria was trying to turn Judah from King Hezekiah. By telling them that the Lord their God could not defeat their army. That they should surrender now before they were enslaved.
“This is what the king of Assyria says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. He says the Lord will deliver us. Has the lord of any nation ever delivered His land from the king of Assyria?” 2 Kings 18: 31.
But Hezekiah didn’t let His people or His army relent. Instead, the people prayed and fasted before The Lord. They did not forsake Him because the world said they should. In today’s world, people will say that you are crazy to depend on anyone for anything, especially God. How can God save us, they ask.
Hezekiah was in the same position and He never relented, just like we should never relent in our faithfulness to trust God’s provision. So what happened next? God stepped up like He always does. He sent an angel of death to the camp of Assyria and put a hundred and eighty-five thousand people to death. Judah didn’t even need to fight, God destroyed their enemy before they could even touch them.
Now I have no idea what battle you are fighting today and the hopelessness you might be feeling, but take heart! God sees your brokenness and He is longing to bless you. He is preparing well for you right now, even in the midst of your pain. God provided for me, even when I thought He had left me forever.
Within four weeks of that company rescinding their offer, I currently have received two job offers from prominent companies in my field. Full-time offers. In the same area as my internship I might add. So even though I was broken-hearted about losing out on my happily ever after, God was preparing job offers for me that were so much more than I could ever imagine. And I am not sharing this to rub salt in your wounds if God has not provided for you yet. I am sharing this with you to show you that it does happen. It might not happen as quickly as mine did, but it will happen.
And who knows, this job might not be perfect either. This job could bring me trials or blessings. But you know what? I am much more equipped now to truly want God’s will to be done. To trust that He has a plan for me that might include me needing to be refined first. We are not promised goodness always when we become Christians, but we are promised that we will never walk alone. That God will not forsake us even when all seems lost. So is this my happily ever after then? Being able to start a full-time job at great company in a new city? No. Because I don’t have a happily ever after here on earth and neither do you. Our happily ever after is only fulfilled when we join our Savior in Heaven. There we will finally be refined like silver and gold, and completely ready for our forever with Him.
We might never understand the hurt and pain we must endure in this life, but we can understand that our God is for us, not against us. That He is good, even when our circumstances are not.
Link to Thy Will by Hillary Scott and Family! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp4WC_YZAuw