The Next Right Thing

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Jeff Henderson, pastor at Gwinnett Church, just finished a great message series called Climate Change. Its premise was that we all have an emotional climate and that climate dictates the forecast of our relationships. In Part 4 of the series, Jeff talked about how life's tough circumstances can rob us of hope. "When our dreams meet reality," he said, "choose hope." God is in the business of building hope in our lives, but we have to trust him—especially when life doesn't make a lot of sense. The way we do that is to simply choose to do the next right thing. Let God take care of the big picture.

I lived this out for five years doing contract work as a technical writer. The work was fun at first, but as I entered my late 30s, I started asking the kinds of questions people at that age typically ask:

"Why am I doing what I'm doing?"

"Where is my life going?"

"Is this it for me?"

Reading the Bible and praying assured me of God's greatness, but it didn't provide answers to those questions. I didn't know—had no way of knowing—that God was preparing me for ministry. He was building an odd collection of skills in me that he planned to use in very specific ways. More important, he was using my uncertainty to grow my trust in him.

God didn't opt to let me in on his plan (he rarely does). My only options were to spin into some crazy mid-life crisis or to trust him by doing the next right thing. So I took the jobs he provided, thanked him that I was employed when so many others weren't, and did my work with every bit of skill and creativity I could muster...even when I was bored doing it.

And that made all the difference.

Have you ever done time in a "next right thing" period of life? Are you there now? What do you do to maintain (and grow) your trust in God when circumstances are trying to steal your hope?