Dear God, I Just Don’t Get It
What is the Design of My Life?
Author: Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS
In my last post, Does Your Life Even Matter?, I left asking a series of questions about what life would look like after I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. If I am being totally honest, I thought the hardships in our life would instantly go away. I thought the issues we were facing were simply a result of not being Christians – so now that we were, we fully expected everything to get better.
Well, I am very sorry to say; that life, meaning our circumstances, did not get better – at all! In fact, things got worse – much worse!
Financially, we were in dire conditions. People would ask us; “Are things a little tight right now?”
Umm…tight would have been a huge upgrade!
I was actually on a women’s ministry Bible study council at my church during that season. No one in the church knew the extent of what we were dealing with. I was sitting in a planning meeting one evening as we discussed the price to charge for women’s ministry workbooks. We came up with twenty-dollars. I recall the women’s ministry director saying; “Twenty-dollars isn’t expensive at all.”
I sat there thinking; “Twenty-dollars to feed my children or buy a women’s ministry workbook?”
So – financially, things were pretty bad.
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
My understanding was simple; I trusted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I bought a Bible. I started going to church. I started teaching my children to live for Jesus Christ, therefore, I expected our problems to go away.
I sounded a lot like the Israelites who expected their lives to simply change once they were freed from their life of bondage to the Egyptians.
The book of Exodus is the central historical event for the Israelites and their salvation from slavery in Egypt. God’s mighty power, which they witnessed with their eyes, delivered them from hundreds of years of bondage. God revealed Himself as their Savior. God forged them into a nation as He had promised Abram. In Exodus 15 they sing praises to His name for His goodness.
However, in Exodus 16 they begin to complain against Moses and Aaron, and essentially- God for what they perceive as their lack.
Oh, how selfish we are.
Oh, how we take the goodness of God for granted.
I don’t want to be too harsh on the Israelites. The bondage and oppression they lived in, most of us cannot image. But God is a faithful God. Just like Abram and Joseph, the Israelite people had to learn how to trust God. The stories are different but faith and trust in God are the same.
Psalm 13:1 “How long, Oh Lord? Will you forget me forever?”
We continued to do our best to grow as new Christians. We joined Bible studies, we served, we read our Bibles, we prayed. I was in Bible College preparing for a life in ministry for God – however, financially, things did not get any better for us. We had a business we were trying to hang onto believing one day God might bless it. Then suddenly, in the midst of everything we were going through, we found out we were expecting our fourth child – to our complete surprise!
This was a major surprise to us, but believe it or not, we weren’t upset. That pregnancy opened our eyes. We had finally understood that God was in control. We finally understood that no matter what we were going through – He had a design for our lives. For God to bless our family with another child during the tumultuous season we were in, the power of God had finally made sense to me. If I had ever doubted the provisions of God up until that point, I knew with ever fiber of my being that God would not bless us with a child if He were not going to provide for that child.
Finally, I began to look at God as the big God He is. Finally, I began to look at God for more than a provider of our material needs – but as a merciful gracious God who gives us a new heart, mind, and soul. Blinded by our problems, my own “exodus” story eluded my heart. Finally, I understood that asking Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior was not about changing my circumstances, rather, it was about changing me.
When you wonder if your life matters, do you give thought to your story? When you question God’s design for your life, do you remember the road you traveled prior to Jesus saving you?
Think about your life without Jesus Christ. Were you a nice person? Did you have compassion for others? Can you see how God has designed your life since becoming a Christian?
If you happen to know me personally, please don’t be fooled by my exterior. I was saved at thirty-one years old. I had no Christian influence in my life for thirty-one years. I was an absolute sinner. I had no reverence for God. I had no understanding of how my sins hurt me, my family, or God. Please do not be surprised if I tell you how I behaved prior to asking Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior.
If you are surprised to learn that I was actually a lost sinner, then I feel sorry for how naive you are. I feel sorry because you do not understand the spiritual war we live in. Without Jesus Christ as our Savior we are lost. We can easily fool man with our exterior, but we are sinners in need of a Savior. We were created in the image of God and until we know Jesus as our Savior we unknowingly long for the hole in our lives to be filled. We try to fill that hole ourselves with destructive behavior.
Just like the Israelites, God parted the waters for me and I walked across on dry ground to a new life. He has done the same for you.
John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Designed and Framed
I did not understand life as a brand new Christian. I was confused. You may be confused as well. You may wonder where God is right now. You may wonder how long it will take for Him to answer your call. In the thirteen years since becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, our circumstances have changed several times. We lived in California. We now live in Tennessee. We had three children thirteen years ago. We now have five. I was a stay-at-home mother. I now work a full-time job. Our circumstances will continue to change, but God will never change. Although we have faced many tough seasons where we have cried to God for His help, I would not trade the drudgery of our circumstances over my soul. I never want to go back to the person I was prior to living as a disciple of Jesus Christ. The tough circumstances I’ve endured helped design who I am today as a woman of God.
In the midst of all you are going through right now, God is designing your life for His purpose to bring glory to His name. Your life will inspire others to have trust in Him.
How is God going to design your life for His purpose?
You have to keep going, keep trusting, and keep fighting for your soul.
When you don’t feel like praying to God – pray anyway.
When you’re too tired to wake up early to read your Bible – wake up anyway.
When you don’t feel like going to church – go anyway.
When you’re too embarrassed to cry – cry anyway.
Like Abram, like Joseph, like the Israelites, like Saleama, like you; God loves you, but you must first learn to trust Him. Don’t gloss over the people in the Bible whom God has used to help others learn to trust Him. Don’t gloss over the people around you; people in your church, who God is using to help others learn to trust Him. And don’t gloss over yourself. Trust in God comes through tough circumstances.
He is designing your life right now so you can learn to trust Him.
Stop fighting. Let Him design you.
Your story, your purpose – will inspire someone else for His glory.
~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS