At the time of our dinner, his plans had firmed up and he was going to be moving soon in order to pursue those dreams—going, by faith, in the direction he believed the Lord was guiding him. Maria and I were impressed by his sincerity and willingness to heed God's call.
In the course of our conversation, I said something to the effect that God sometimes leads people to do things that are quite out of the ordinary, only to use those initial steps to start them on journeys that lead to other, unexpected destinations. The path of life is often formed by a series of seemingly unrelated decisions and choices, which build upon one another and eventually lead to fulfillment.
“Can you give me an example?” the young man asked.
I thought for a moment and said, “Yes, that happened to me.”
About forty years ago, shortly after I had joined the Family International (TFI), one of the sponsors of our center, who owned a printing business, donated a printing press to our work. He planned to teach us how to use the press and his other equipment, and then let us print our teaching and outreach materials at his shop. As it turned out, I was one of a few who were trained as printers, and I continued in this line of work for a year and a half. I felt like I had joined the Family International to share Jesus’ love and message with others face to face, so it wasn’t always easy to spend my days going through the often tedious routine of mass printing. Little did I understand then that this was an important part of God’s plan for my life.
Because of the experience I gained in that print shop, I was eventually invited to move to Germany to help with TFI’s German-language publications, and over the next few years I was also involved in other publication centers. Eventually I was asked to supervise the team responsible for TFI’s printing for much of Europe. That job led to another one that put me in contact with David and Maria, TFI’s founders and leaders, and a couple of years later they invited me to work directly with them as one of their assistants. My journey had started with a step that was totally unexpected and contrary to my thinking at the time, but one step led to another until I found myself doing what I do today—work that I love and find very fulfilling.
The point I was trying to convey was that even if what our friend was planning didn’t work out, it could very well be the first step in a journey to another wonderful place—perhaps something even better and more rewarding than what he was dreaming of now.
I have since shared this point with a few others, explaining that they shouldn’t be disappointed if they step out to follow where they believe God is leading them but things don’t work out as anticipated. It may just be the first step toward something else special. What you learn or who you meet in your initial venture may turn out to be more important than the venture itself. Today’s difficulties, uncertainties, and disappointments may be steppingstones to future success.
Last night, I found myself lying awake in bed, praying and wondering how certain decisions I now face will affect the future. After some time, I got up and began writing this article. Partway through, Jesus spoke to my heart. “Look at what you’re writing. What you told your friend applies to you too. You need to be willing to take the first steps toward the new by faith—to step out and follow Me, even if it seems crazy. If you are frozen in indecision, you will never be able to take the first step; but that first step is the one that will set you on the path that leads to the destination of My choosing. You have trusted Me with your life all these years. Can you continue to trust Me now? Follow Me, trust Me, and let the future unfold a day at a time.”
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Finding God’s will isn’t a one-time event. As we progress through spiritual and physical changes, as times and circumstances change, it’s necessary to reevaluate our lives or aspects of them to make sure that we’re up to date with God’s plan. Finding God’s will is a regular occurrence for a Christian.—Maria Fontaine