Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
None of us are exempt from feeling anxious in times of adversity. Whether or not we have experienced the challenges that have left us deflated, our turn will come. Jesus tells us: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Since the inevitable will happen, how can we move forward when troubles come our way? Pray, ask for God’s help, believe in faith, and wait for God to resolve the challenge. Even in the time of our worst storms, we can receive Divine intervention. Nothing can separate us from God who is always faithful, even when we make decisions that place us in a crisis.
In 1 Samuel 8, the Nation of Israel became dissatisfied with the structure of government that God established. They complained to the Elders who met with Samuel and said, “Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.” 1 Samuel 8:5. Samuel prayed, received God’s answer (1 Samuel 8:10-22), but, the people rejected God’s forewarning of the terrible things that a King would do; yet, they were determined to be like the other nations. After Saul became King, all appeared to go well, the Israelites defeated their oppressors in battle. What they failed to realize that God’s word never fails. The consequences of their demand for a king did not happen immediately, but as the events unfold, we can read that they were not spared from the consequences of their wayward actions.
God gave the people their desires and allowed Saul to be anointed as King. In time, Saul’s true character was revealed, he was prideful, and proved to be a poor leader who lived according to his interpretation of God’s commands. Because of his defiance against the boundaries and laws that God had established, 1 Samuel 16 tells us that God rejected Saul as king of Israel. The prophetic words that Samuel spoke came into fruition; Saul was a disobedient King who felt that because of his position he could perform priestly duties and place fear among the people by telling them that God gave him the ability to bring curses upon others.
As Believers, we cannot think and act according to our desires, God always requires faithful obedience from those who commit to serving Him. Where do you stand in your relationship with God? Are you serving God; yet, you desire the worldly pleasures, or pursue opportunities that promise financial gain or social status? We place ourselves in the valley of indecision when we struggle with the choices of self-reliance or asking for God’s will to be done in our lives.
What happens when God allows us to receive the things that are not in His will?
In January of 2017, I applied for the position as Branch Manager for a thriving Home Health agency that targeted our small town as the perfect location to take over at-home patient services. Within one hour of faxing my resume, I received a call to schedule an interview. All went well during the four hours that I was interrogated by the hiring team, and my documents were faxed to the corporate office to obtain government-level clearance, nursing licensure verification, drug testing, and a clean driving record. I was overwhelmed with excitement. For the first time in my career, I lived 10 minutes from the job location which made a big impact on their decision to extend an offer.
During the interview, I was given the opportunity to read the business and marketing plans. Based on my experience as a small business owner, the financial projections and ideas were phenomenal. The strategic plans for a big corporation doing business in a small rural town were developed for success and deemed fail-proof by the executive officers. The obstacle of recruiting a nurse who was business savvy and who did not mind working in a rural town was resolved. Living a few minutes from the branch office made a big impact, and I received a conditional offer for employment during the interview.
Praying a prayer of thanksgiving, I immediately prepared a list of point-of-contacts who would enable the success of the start-up and the onset of a lucrative career with many perks. Along with the sales rep, it was my responsibility to contact medical providers and obtain patient referrals to provide home health nursing services. We would also conduct community activities to introduce our services that we were available 24/7, 365 days a year. This was great; I had reached the pinnacle of my career.
Sharing the blessing with my mother reinforced God’s faithfulness, and we praised God together. During the conversation, we scheduled a Mother and Daughter day out for the day of her Drs. Visit. The plan was to pick her up after the appointment, but that morning, I had a pressing thought to meet her at the time of the appointment. Dr. K. is very personable, and my Mom loved the laughter that the three of us would enjoy during her visits. Although I had not planned to disclose my new job, my Mom proudly shared the great news of a local job as a Branch Manager. Dr. K. extended congratulations and invited me to share the details of my new position. I can recall the look of concern on his face when he replied, “I do not think it is wise for you to accept that position.”
The look of disappointment was evident because Dr. K. began to explain the many obstacles to large corporations attempting to infiltrate and change small-town lifestyles. Loyalty, familiarity, compassion, and care over financial gain were just a few reasons that would create a roadblock to my success. But the deadly wound was caused by his statement, “The organization that you mentioned has a bad reputation. I would not be able to give you patient referrals because the agency that I currently use has proven that their nursing staff is reliable and they provide excellent quality patient care.” I thanked Dr. K. for his professional input, but I was determined to prove that there were other physicians who would give the new agency a chance.
Two months of hard work, 12 hour days, and a dedicated staff failed to produce a patient census above 40 patients, which led to lay-offs of 50% of the branch’s staff. The day that I tendered my resignation, I was informed that a corporate decision was made for me to assume the position of Nursing Director along with my current administrative duties as Manager. Within ten months, the agency folded, and the building that they purchased has been empty for three years. It is intentional to leave out the rest of the story, due to a confidentiality contract. But I can say this: the forces of evil have no boundaries, and unscrupulous strategies were used to achieve corporate goals.
I placed myself in a crisis because I did not heed God’s warning. The desire to achieve blinded all spiritual discernment or else I would have known that God used Dr. K. to give the forewarning that my desires were outside of the will of God. Because of disobedience, I was exposed to corruptness at a level that I never thought possible. Even though I was not directly involved in executive decisions, God allowed me to experience the full consequences of my disobedience.
Did God abandon me? No, He did not. Even in the sin of self-reliance, God proved that He is always faithful. The second position that I interviewed for as a Medicare Analyst came through one week before my resignation, which I gratefully accepted. It was a 5-month temp job that offered the perks of working from home with flexible hours. Only God is always faithful! He still extended His grace and mercies when I least deserved them.
Make prayer a part of your daily lifestyle. Praying connects us to God, the source of power. He is the only Omnipotent, and Omniscient presence in our lives, knowing the beginning to the end that can provide a life without mistakes. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:8.
Steps to Praying prayers that keep us connected to God:
- We must admit that we need God’s direction and Divine Intervention.
- Create the atmosphere by having a loving, forgiving, and obedient heart.
- Give up all willful sins, including self-reliance, pride, and impatience.
- Live a faith-based life. God takes the impossible and makes it possible.
- Trust God’s method. Be still, and wait! God will reveal His perfect plan.
Talk with God. Be honest by confessing your sins, and ask for His guidance. God is aware of our shortcomings, present your present dilemma, and acknowledge that you have run out of answers. When we approach God with humility and admit that we have wavering faith, He takes our weaknesses, and He gives us His strength to overcome. My friend, God loves us unconditionally, and He will deliver us from the spiritual crisis we are in if we only ask.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a road in the wilderness
And create rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19
Bible Reading: 1 Samuel chapters 8-10
God, we acknowledge that we have created a crisis, not knowing which direction to take. We ask forgiveness for the self-reliance and the worldly desires that we seek after, which are not in your plans for us. We present our dilemmas to you and pray for your Divine Intervention. This prayer we ask in the Worthy Name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.