Both John and I are “set the GPS” and GO-type of people. We like to know how far it is to our destination and how long it will take to get there. When we stop for gas, we hate to see the time loss. If we could figure out how to fuel our car and empty our bladders without stopping, I’m sure we would.
If only it would be so easy to plot such a course through life. To know your destination, to set your course, and GO. But God has a way of redirecting, doesn’t He? What I thought would be a straight path often includes a detour at every turn.
In my BSF group, we were reading about Paul’s Second Missionary journey. As we read in Acts 15:36-16:10 Paul knew who he was traveling with and where he was going—or so he thought. Neither of his plans worked out. I love the question my Bible Study lesson posed:
Are you willing for God to change your life’s direction if He wishes?
I had to smile at myself when I read that question. Faces, voices and names filled my mind—gifts from God’s redirections.
Just this morning I received a Christmas photo and email from a couple I met in the Czech Republic on a mission trip. I had never planned on going there…until God turned my heart to the people and I felt a stirring within: “Go.”
Yesterday I received a call from one of my WWII veteran friends. I first met Tony 10 years ago when I was interviewing men from the 11th Armored Division for my novel From Dust and Ashes. He called to thank me for my Christmas card and to see how I was doing. When I first started writing the novel I never planned on writing about WWII or interviewing veterans, but I felt God’s stir: “This way.”
This morning I was reading through Facebook posts from many of my teen mommies (many who are no longer teens!). Some girls I mentored years ago have school-age kids now. Some girls are still Freshmen and Sophomores and they’re still looking forward to their babies to come. When I set my mind on “ministry,” I was thinking 3-year-old Sunday School class. I never imagined loving on teen mothers. I never realized how the mentorships would turn into friendships that would last for years and years.
This Christmas season, one passage has stirred in my heart the most. It’s a passage I’ve read over but haven’t thought about much—except for this year. Every time I read these words I feel God telling me to slow down and pay attention:
While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—’God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term: Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son; They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”). MSG
Joseph was a guy who had his GPS set. Like every Hebrew man he knew he’d build a room on his father’s home, marry, raise a family, and pass on his trade to his sons. Yet, God decided to change things up, and He set Joseph’s life in a new direction. Two parts of the above passage make me smile. First, that Joseph was trying to find “a way out.”
Too often we try to find “a way out” of God plan. Why? The plan usually isn’t direct, or easy. It often looks like “hard circumstances”–something we’d pray ourselves out of if we could.
But God often has a bigger, greater plan than we realize.
The second section that stands out to me is, “This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term.” I love that word-picture. An embryo is fully planned, just undeveloped. All the DNA it will ever need is present; it just needs time to mature.
As a Hebrew man, Joseph no doubt knew the Scriptures. Had an inkling stirred within when he read Isaiah’s words: “Watch for this: A girl who is presently a virgin will get pregnant. She’ll bear a son and name him Immanuel (God-With-Us)” (Isaiah 7:14)?
Did Joseph have any idea HE was part of that plan? That that girl was his future-wife and that child his oldest son? I doubt it.
Joseph looked for a way out, yes. A way that would keep him on his intended path. But out of obedience to God, Joseph allowed the One he served to mess with his GPS, and his life was never the same.
Perhaps the beginning of a great plan will grow and come to full-term through YOUR obedience to God. Have you ever thought about that?
Just know this, that if God is asking you to change your life direction in the coming year, you can focus on one thing. “God is with us.” He is with YOU. Trust that God knows your destination, set your gaze on Him, and GO.
For more than a decade, Tricia has drawn from her experiences as a teen mother and leader of today’s generation, to be a voice of hope and possibility for teen girls, pregnant teens, mothers and wives.
Married to John for over twenty years and the mother of four, Tricia believes ordinary women can accomplish extraordinary things with God’s help. She shares this message in her 30 contemporary fiction, historical fiction, and nonfiction books and through speaking engagements across the country. Her invitation to women everywhere is to cast aside discouragement and fear to live real life, inspired!