Sometimes, I find myself in a spot like that of Job. I trust God, I love Him, and I do my best to live out His will, but for some reason, everything seems to be going wrong anyway. In such times, I become easily discouraged and wonder why such things could be happening. How does this fit into God's plan?
When I am so certain of a plan of action and it fails, I question myself as to what I should do next. It is so discouraging to put forth a great deal of effort to achieve a goal and then fail. My pride is shattered, for I know that most will not see my effort, but only the results. I know that many will question whether I really put forth as much effort as I claim to. More than that, though, I become discouraged with my own incapability to accomplish things.
How could so much work come to naught? Am I not capable, as I should be, to do such a small thing? Overwhelmed and embarrassed by my own incompetence I fear being a source of shame to my family. How can I face them and tell them that I have failed? But when I face those who love me, they do not see it as a failure at all, but a first try. "Try again. It will be alright" they insist.
Oh, but do they not see how much energy the first attempt took? Do they not see how weary I am growing? How can this fit into God's plan? I have to motivation left to try again. Others may not see, but I put forth almost all that I had to make the first effort. I have nothing left to give. Tired and broken, I turn to the Lord and cry out for help.
Then I am reminded of God's loving care. I know that He will not abandon me. Whatever the reason for my trials, I know that He is in control. I have done my best, all else is up to Him. It is in His hands. If He does not bring my labors to fruit, then it simply means that my plan is not His plan. The rest does not matter. I have done my best and He knows. He knows my heart and He knows my wishes. I reconcile myself to His plan by reminding myself that His is the plan that will lead to my greatest happiness. I find all the ways that I might be able to grow from this disappointment and try to implement them.
He is my rock, my sword, and my shield. He is my hope. Apart from Him, I am nothing. He has allowed my to be His beloved daughter, washed clean in His most Sacred Blood, in spite of all my weaknesses. I desire to ever be united to Him. If all else fades away, but I still have Him, then I am happy. As long as I allow Him to help me and guide me, He will not fail to bring about what is best for my happiness. I may not always understand, but that is alright because I'm not the one who needs to. While I trust Him, all will be alright in the end.
So, I take all of my fears and lay them at His feet. I bring my fears of failure, of rejection, or pain, of disappointment, of being an embarrassment to others, of not quite making it, of not being strong enough, and of not getting my way and I surrender them to Him. As I continuously renew this act of surrendering, my anxieties are mine not longer. I have new hope and joy in Him. I wonder at myself for having ever doubted and I laugh at myself because I know that I am likely to doubt again.
But He is ever forgiving and patient. No matter how many times I fail to trust Him, He is always waiting, with open arms, for me. He cares not whether I fall a hundred times or a hundred thousand times, as long as I return to Him, He will welcome me. He does not let my weakness weigh against me for He tempers justice with mercy.
How appropriate then, the analogy of the shepherd and the sheep becomes. As long as we let Him lead us, like sheep blindly following their beloved shepherd, no harm will come to us. It is when we stray that we encounter dangers, but all we need do is cry out to Him and He will rush to our defense. If He allows us to experience hardships, it is with good reason. He is our Good Shepherd. He is our caring Father. Let there be no doubt that, in Him, we are safe. Let us follow the Light and take comfort in Him.