I am a planner. I like to plan my days, and even months, out. I like to know that I have a solid agenda scheduled out. It helps me feel like I have my life under control and, hopefully, prevents chaos. Nothing could possibly go wrong when you have your life planned out, right?

Wrong. The times when my plans didn’t turn out the way I had envisioned are the times when my faith is tested the most. These are also the times when I learn the most about myself – how I respond to crisis, how I react in uncomfortable situations, and how I recover. But why would God let this happen? Why would he disrupt your perfectly thought-out plans? Where is God in the midst of your situation?

The answer is simple to hear but difficult to understand: it is part of His plan. I recently went through a situation where I had planned months and months for something, and when the event finally happened, it was not what I thought it would be. I felt anxious, afraid, sad and confused. Why would God allow this? When I prayed about this and planned for it and searched for His will every step of the way? I am learning right along with you, friends.

James 1:2-3 was a verse quoted to me during my trial. It says “Consider it pure joy my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” I didn’t want to hear this at the time, but it was the truth. It is what I needed to hear. I am supposed to feel joy in the midst of my crippling anxiety? Yes. I am supposed to feel joy when I am paralyzed with fear? Yes. How? Think about the end result.

Focus on the end goal. Remember that nothing worth fighting for was ever easy to achieve. Those trials will make the end success even sweeter. Knowing you pushed past your weaknesses and overcame your doubts is euphoric. Being on the other side and seeing the lessons you learned and the new things you found out about yourself helps all of the pieces fall in place. Everything begins to make sense, and God’s purpose becomes clearer. When you are in the middle of the trial, facing it head on and feeling as though you will never see the light at the end of the tunnel, it can be hard to understand why God would make you go through what you are going through.

Don’t let your situation cloud your vision. Keep your eyes on God. Keep your mind on His purpose and trusting in His plan, even when you cannot see it. Scripture tells us that God’s plan is not meant to harm us but to give us hope for the future. God made us and He loves us. He wants to see us succeed. That doesn’t mean he is going to make it easy. Who knows, maybe you are going through this trial because God wants you to be able to relate to others going through the same thing. Maybe He wants to use you to minister to others.

How you choose to react in trying times is so important. Your choices can either bring glory to God and be a testimony of your faith, or they can harden people’s hearts and turn them away from Him. Find God in the hard times by choosing to trust Him and find your hope in Him, even when you cannot see the way. Turn your pain into praise. Your heart will be filled with peace. And, trust in His plan. It may not be easy, it may not be pretty, it may not be anything you envisioned it would be, but His plans are greater than anything we could come up with on our own.

XOXO, Chels