By Lynette Kittle, Crosswalk.com
When God Establishes Your Steps
By Lynette Kittle
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” - Proverbs 16:9
Have you ever prayed, asking God to direct your steps and take you in a specific direction, only to experience what seemed like life was taking you in the opposite direction, away from what you were asking?
When Uncle Sam Messes with Your Plans
Years ago, I wasn’t happy when I learned my husband, a newly promoted sergeant in the United States Air Force, was being sent to a Non-Commissioned Officers’ Leadership School on base. Attending meant he would be living away from home in the dormitory during training, leaving me off base to care alone for our one and three-year-old daughters. Living in Anchorage, Alaska, at the time, far away from my family in Ohio, staying alone just blocks from the site of a recent mass murder, left me on edge and on alert 24/7.
This curveball from the USAF also didn’t fit with our plans. My husband was all set to apply for an early out, to start the Fall Semester of Bible College back in Ohio near our families. Now with the military spending its time and money to train him, made it seem highly unlikely his request would be approved. Still, Jeremiah 32:27 reminds us, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”
Struggling through the weeks of training and living apart, as his stint in the NCO leadership school ended, my husband was instructed to bring me to a graduation banquet on base. At first, I said “no,” because it was the last thing I wanted to do. I was still pretty upset with the whole process and felt somewhat fuming about even being asked to attend. Yet in my heart I knew as his wife, God wanted me to support him by going along with him to the event. Begrudgingly I gave in and told him I’d be his date. Still, my mind was set on not enjoying it.
Dinner with the Commander
Half-heartedly, I dressed up for the big occasion. In arriving for the event, we were surprised to find ourselves seated directly across from his squadron’s commander and wife. Unknown to us, he was the only airman out of his squadron to attend the school. We found ourselves having the commander’s full attention for the entire evening. Needless to say, we felt awkward. Having no idea we would be sitting with the commander, I especially felt unprepared and uncomfortable sitting across from him, knowing the lousy attitude I was having toward the whole school and military.
To add to our ill-at-ease feelings, the commander and his wife brought alcohol to share and consistently throughout our chatting kept trying to fill our glasses. All the while we kept saying, “No thank you,” and turning down their offers. Trying not to offend them, my husband thanked them for their generosity and explained we just don't drink. They seemed taken aback by his response like it was something they hadn’t ever heard before or knew was an option for people, it was just a really odd concept to them. Throughout the evening they kept questioning us about our non-drinking.
Following and throughout the evening, as they drank the commander asked us about our lives and future goals. We shared with him my husband’s desire to return home and attend Bible College and Seminary to become a pastor. With all their drinking, I really thought our conversation was lost on them and of little importance in the long run. From my perspective, the entire evening seemed like a disaster.
God’s Plan All Along
Still, despite this sidetrack in our plans, and with not much hopeful expectation for his request to be approved, my husband filed for an early out to attend school, all the while praying and asking others to pray with us. In a God-like twist to the situation, it turned out the commander we dined with at the banquet was the very one to make the final decision. When my husband’s paperwork came across his desk, he remembered our evening spent together, recalling our conversation and my husband’s plans to begin training for ministry. Without hesitation, he approved my husband’s early out.
In hearing my husband’s good news, I was stunned, to say the least. Thinking over what took place, I realized how a situation that looked like it was taking us in the opposite direction of what we were planning, was really God orchestrating and directing our steps to accomplish His plans and purposes in our lives. Although NCO school seemed like it would ruin our plans, it actually turned out to be the catalyst God worked through to answer our prayers.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Are you experiencing a time where it looks like your prayers and hopes for the future are being hijacked by life? If so, where can you turn? What can you do? Instead of resisting, trust that God is establishing your steps, turning to Him and trusting He is directing your steps and working all things together for your good (Romans 8:28).
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Zbynek Pospisil
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, StartMarriageRight.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.