Trusting in God’s plan can be difficult, especially if we think we know what the Lord is calling us to only to find out that He has something different in store for us. When things don’t work out according to the plans that we’ve made it is critical to put our trust in the Lord, believing with all our hearts that He loves us and knows what is best for us. This can be a hard thing to do, especially if we experienced feelings of disappointment, anger, or maybe even unloved at the time our plans fail. Those feelings are a natural reaction to a plan failing so there is nothing wrong with feeling them, but we can’t wallow in them because it will negatively affect our spiritual and emotional wellbeing.
I recently had this experience. I am a senior in college and I have 5 classes left to take: the finish line is right in front of me and I can taste it. I planned on graduating this December, and I was super excited at the prospect of being done with school and having the opportunity to dive deeper into my faith and to challenge myself in ways I never would have thought imaginable a year ago by becoming a missionary after graduation. Three of my friends also felt this calling, and all of us actually applied to be missionaries with the same organization. But something came along to put a dent in my plans.
One of the last classes I needed to graduate was not being offered until the spring semester of 2019. I panicked. Graduation seemed a little further away, and all of a sudden I had no idea what my next year was going to look like. After several attempts, I was finally able to get in touch with one of my advisors and she got started on paperwork that would have allowed me to substitute a different class for the one being offered next spring. As all this was going on, my friends heard back about their missionary applications one by one, and all of them were offered positions. I felt overjoyed for them, but as each one received their “yes,” I became that much more certain that I was going to get a “yes” too. So I hesitated on making my class schedule for next year until I heard back from my advisor about my options.
The day finally came when I got the call and heard my answer: no. I felt hurt, disappointed, rejected, and focused all my energy on trying to maintain my composure through this phone call, but once it was over, I felt an unexpected emotion: relief. I didn’t have to graduate this fall. I could spend the rest of this year with this community of Catholic students that has already done so much for me and my faith, and I could live out the whole year in a house with 10 other guys seeking to grow in manliness, holiness, and brotherhood. I’ve realized that this upcoming year is going to be filled with opportunities for formation and spiritual growth, and that this alone is a great way for me to accomplish those goals I aspired to when I applied to be a missionary. I even realized that perhaps the Lord is still calling me to mission work – He just knew I wasn’t quite ready for it yet.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3: 5-6).
Even though my plans had failed, I know the Lord has great things in store for me. I know He has great things in store for you. I know that He desires what is best for all of His children. All we have to do is trust in His plan and His love.