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Do you know what God is doing?

by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries

What is God doing?

With all that going on in our would today, you might be wondering where God is and asking, “What is God doing?” Maybe you’ve found yourself asking if God is even paying attention to what’s happening down here on earth. Whenever life gets difficult, it’s easy to think of God as way off in heaven and not in tune with the happenings down here on planet earth. However, God is exactly aware and He is at work – even if you can’t see it.

The Message Bible says in Proverbs 29:18 that when we can’t see what God is doing we stumble all over ourselves. The HCSB says “Without revelation people run wild.” Doesn’t that sound like our world today – people running wild and stumbling all over themselves? Could it be that we’ve lost sight of God and what He is doing? Maybe some have even given up on God – stopped going to church, stopped praying, and stopped reading their Bible.

Seeing God at work

It’s funny that the things we stop doing when we feel like God isn’t at work in out lives are the very things we need to do if we are going to see where God is at work. Our spiritual connection to God comes from going to church, fellowshipping with other believers, spending time in His Word, praying, and listening for what God has to say to us. But when we face trials, we sever our connection and blame God for what is happening in our lives.

You may know someone who seems to be very “connected” to God and they can tell you exactly what God’s purpose is for them and the direction they should take in life. You might know someone who has experienced answered prayers that shows them God is at work in their life. Others might be able to tell you about a miracle God has done in their life.

We need to remember that only Moses received a talking, burning bush. Only Noah was given a building plan with the exact dimension and building materials. Only Paul had a blinding encounter with Jesus. However, over and over again in the Bible we see where God let people in on His plans. Most of us have no specific point in time where God stepped out of heaven with exact directions for what we are to do, but if we look carefully we can see God at work in our lives. He is always working in ways we can’t see and even if we don’t recognize it in the moment, when we look back at our lives we can see His fingerprints all over our lives as He guides and directs our steps.

Tracing the fingerprints of God in our lives

God works in our lives through the church

One of the ways we can see God at work in our lives is through the church. God places the leadership of our churches where He wants them to be. So the leadership in your church is there – for you. As long as they are solid in their theology, listen to the advice you receive them your brothers and sisters in Christ and your church leaders. Have you ever thought about your pastor being the voice of God – or do you just criticize every sermon? Are you more concerned with if your spouse heard what the pastor is saying or do you apply it to your own life?

If you feel like you don’t see God at work, when was the last time you went to church? Do you go anticipating hearing God speak to you or is it more of a social hour? If you want to hear God speak, you have to listen. Start by spending some time in prayer before you go to church and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you worship.

Dr. Jerry

For me, I think about a pastor – Dr. Jerry. When I started attending the church where he was pastor, I was hired as the pianist for the church. However, I believe that God planted and sent me to that specific church because it was where Dr. Jerry was pastor and God would work in my life through sermons Dr. Jerry preached. Through him, God would heal some very deep hurts and it was through Dr. Jerry that God would answer two of my greatest prayers at that time.

I doubt Dr. Jerry even knows exactly how God used him in my life. But God had a plan for me and that included God working through Dr. Jerry to accomplish God’s work in my life at that time. In fact, the very first glimpse of this ministry came through a sermon Dr. Jerry preached even though it would be years later before that glimpse became anything more than a thought in my head.

God works in our lives through other people

One of the ways we can see God at work in our lives is through other people. Throughout our lives, people come and go. We forge close relationships and then God moves them to a new location or we simply lose touch after a time. But have you thought about God placing them in your life for a season and for a purpose?

God often works through others to meet our needs. Sometimes He places people in our lives right in the moment we need them. Other times He places them in our lives months or even years in advance so that when we hit that trial or difficulty, that person is there to encourage us, pray for us, and be the hands and feet of God. Who are some of the people in your life that was there at just the right moment when you needed them?

My “just in time” experience

I recall a time when I was in college and driving home from West Palm Beach and the car I was driving had a mechanical problem (it was just a slight problem – like, it slung a rod – in other words, it was dead). The car problem started about two hours away from home. I heard a clunk and noticed the rpms dropped so I got off the exit and called my dad from a pay phone (this was the days before cell phones). Still two hours away, he told me to get it as close to home as we could. I made it not quite to the next exit.

The other driver at just the right time to help

Several times we had passed a car from West Palm and then later that car would pass us. Because I had gotten off at the first exit, that car caught up with us again and when it saw us pull over, the driver pulled up behind us and offered to get us to the next exit where I could call my dad – again.

The just in time tow truck driver

At that time the only two places at that exit was a Waffle House and a gas station. I found another pay phone and called home. My dad wanted to get the car off the side of the expressway and said he would call a tow truck. Just as he said those words a tow truck pulled up on the other side of the pay phones and was getting out to make a call on another pay phone. So I said, “Daddy, a tow truck just pulled up.” I asked the driver to talk to my dad and they worked out an arrangement where he would tow the truck to the gas station where the owner was a friend of his and dad could pay the towing fee when he arrived.

I had to wait two hours for my dad to get there – but remember there was a Waffle House, so we went in and enjoyed hot chocolate while we waited.

God is never caught by surprise

You see God already knew that I would have car trouble that day and while I was not happy about being stranded two hours away from home, my dad helped me to see how God orchestrated events so that I was at the right exit, put a kind person from West Palm Beach on the road with us and just because He is a good God, He made sure a tow truck pulled up at the exact time he was needed. That is how God uses others in our lives.

God works in our lives through Bible Study and prayer

Often, I am asked just how important Bible study and prayer is. It is vitally important. Bible study and prayer is to your spiritual life like oxygen and blood is to your physical life. Without oxygen and blood – you die. Without prayer and Bible study, you do not grow as Christian. If you want to walk with God, you have to be in His Word and you have to pray. But if you do all the talking when you pray, then you can expect to not hear anything from God. If you want to hear from Him, then you have “Be still” and listen. As you do, the Holy Spirit will recall a verse to your memory or something you read from God’s Word will speak to the exact need you are praying about.

God works in our lives through the challenges we face

What if we looked at the difficulties in our lives as God at work around us? Would our perspective on our problems change? When our perspective if “me focused” all I see is the problem. But if I change my perspective to say, “Where is God at work in this?” then what I see is God.

Maybe God is teaching you to trust Him more. Maybe He is testing your faithfulness to Him. Or perhaps He is trying to get your attention to change a behavior that is not pleasing to Him. Perhaps all the stress and anxiety you feel is rooted and grounded in sin that you refuse to give up, confess, and repent from. Try seeking for God in your trials and asking Him what He wants you to learn from the trail you are facing. You can also ask Him to give you strength, peace, and comfort during the trial.

When we know God’s plans

In Proverbs 29:18, The Message Bible says, “But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.” The HCSB says, “one who listens to instruction will be happy.” There is nothing more exciting than to know where God is work and to realize that He invites us into His plans and to be an active part of them. I like that The Messages uses the word “attend.” When we “attend” to something it means we are present and deal with it. It isn’t enough to just hear God’s plan – we have to attend to our part in those plans. In other words, when God calls us up to “active duty” we go serve and do what He tells us to do.

Can you think of a time when God let you in on His plans and He asked you to join Him? What was your answer? Did you obediently jump in? Or did you offer excuses and promise to do it later – but never did? Did you tell God all the reasons why you’re not qualified? Did you say yes, but then listened to others who talked you out of it and didn’t follow through? If you want God to let you in on what He is doing, then you need an obedient heart that will follow Him in what He tells you to do. If you’re not going to bother to listen and do what He says, why should He let you in on His plans?

Stumbling or blessed

How would you describe your life right now? If you feel as if you are “stumbling all over yourself,” then how in tuned with God are you? Can you see God at work? If you do, then are you attending to what He reveals to you? We are happy and blessed when we are walking in step with Him, knowing His will and plans, and obediently doing what He calls us to do.

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