I must have prayed this prayer dozens of times during our second year of infertility. I don’t think I had ever begged God for anything up until this point, but I can remember day after day after day begging God to reveal His plan to me. It wasn’t just the unknowns that came with infertility. I was also in my first year in a brand new job field. I was struggling and wondering if I was going to last in my new job or if I would return to Ministry where my real passion laid (which I later did).
I can still vividly remember this visual that I would depict in my mind while begging this prayer. I would picture a path of stones-you know the kind that has grass separating each stone. There was a low, dense fog that covered the path that lay ahead of me. The only things I could see were my feet, which were planted on the first stone in the path, and the lantern I was holding to light my way. I couldn’t see anything else in front of me. I would pray and beg God to show me the next stone, but the fog was just too dense. My little lantern was no match for the darkness that covered my future. I would cry out. I would tell God, “I know You won’t show me the whole path. I used to think that’s what I needed, but that’s not what I’m asking for. Please just show me the next step, Lord! That’s all I’m asking for! Reveal what the next part of Your plan is! I know it’s good and it’s what’s best. Just show it to me so I can follow You.”
Have you ever prayed that prayer of desperation? I had finally learned that I didn’t need to know the whole plan in order to trust God and follow Him. So I felt like my request, errr, beg, was completely reasonable. I mean, how was I supposed to follow God if I didn’t know where He was leading me? It made sense to me then to pray and ask for Him to reveal the next step. But He wasn’t. I stood there on that stone, unable to see the next, and most certainly not able to see three or four stones down. I was anxious about what the future held. I didn’t know if we would ever be able to conceive. I didn’t know if I was cut out for my new job. The fog was just too dense to see through.
But God’s voice cut through the fog of doubt, anxiety, and fear, not in a powerful way, but in a gentle way. Trust Me. That’s it, God? I ask you to show me the next stone, and You say, Trust Me?
And that’s precisely what He wanted me to do. I had to trust the Lord that wherever He was leading me would be for my good. And I had to trust that whenever it was time He would lead me there. Not my timing, of course, but His good, perfect timing. Lastly, I had to trust that even though I couldn’t see the whole path, He could. He didn’t need to move the fog out of the way. He didn’t need the dull light of my lamp. He not only knew the plan, He was the One who made the plan. A verse I clung to during that time (and many times after then) is Proverbs 3:5:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.”
I believe the Holy Spirit led me to this verse because He knew that many times over the next few years after this season of infertility, I would need to turn to the Lord in deep trust while not understanding all that was happening around me and not being able to see the path in front of me.
I had to let go of my plans and my need to know the plan before taking another step. Listen to these words from Proverbs 16:9:
“The heart of man plans his ways, but the LORD establishes his steps.”
I am a planner by nature, and this verse reminded me that no matter how much of the path I planned out, God’s plans were the only ones worthy of following. I had to learn patience when I was impatient, strength when I was weak, endurance when I wanted to give up, peace when I was troubled, and faith when I doubted.
If you’re waiting and praying and begging for God to show you the next step, rest in the knowledge that His plan is perfect. He made your path and knows when it’s best to reveal each step. We must walk by faith. Our lanterns may burn out. The fog may get denser. But God’s light will shine through the darkness. Our paths will likely be full of bumps and surprises along the way. But we must trust that walking our unique paths in the right time is glorifying to the One who holds it all in His hands.
Hear me on this, dear one-it is okay to ask God to reveal the next step. But don’t get discouraged if it’s not revealed in the time you would like it. Or if the next step is nothing like what you were hoping. Trust God. Trust His plan for you. Be patient and trust Him.
Pressing on in faith, Jennifer