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June 6, 2020 by Tim Pietz (Wisconsin, USA)

The human mind plans the way, but the LORD directs the steps. — Proverbs 16:9 (NRSV) 

A few years ago, I submitted a devotional to the Upper Room about how God led me to become a writer. A few months ago, I landed a paid internship with an excellent Christian publishing house. I was a college senior set to graduate and work at the company of my choice. But like everyone else, I had my plans changed by Covid-19.

Soon after I lost that internship, a Facebook friend reached out to me about a possible paid internship at another Christian publishing house. I was excited and hopeful—here was God’s answer to my prayers! Just as God abruptly closed one door, God had the power to open a new one out of nowhere. But then that company put a hiring freeze on all positions, and that door was also shut.

To say I was discouraged was an understatement. The last few weeks had been hard with leaving my college friends so abruptly and feeling isolated, but I’d been clinging to that internship as something to look forward to. An adventure, an accomplishment, a destination I’d been working to reach for years. But that door closed, and then it closed again.

It’s fitting that my devotion I submitted so long ago was about waiting, about unanswered prayer. Back then, I’d been in a dry desert, but I’d come out. I’d found water. Today I am in another desert, and I still don’t see the other side. Maybe you feel that way too. Stuck. Powerless. Useless. Stagnant. Why do we have to wait? I know time can teach many things, and I know that God can grow us even in the mundane waiting, but why?

I think the best encouragement I can offer us now is this: Jesus waited too.

Thirty years of waiting before he began his earthly ministry: just normal everyday life, 40 days in the desert after his baptism, a harsh and taxing trial. But those times had to happen—even to the Son of God. And Jesus obeyed. Jesus obeyed just as much in every situation, whether he was doing carpentry or fasting or miracles.

We may not know why we’re in this place or where we’re going. But we can trust. We can obey. One step, then another, then another, until one day, we’ll see what’s on the other side of the desert. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to be patient. Help me honor you no matter where I am and what I am doing. Amen.

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