God's Plan Still Stands, Even When We Don't Follow His Voice
Updated: May 5, 2021
By Becky Beresford
Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Becky's Story
I remember taking my seat as class began, unaware of what God was about to do.
My seminary professor stood up to teach, but a hidden, heavy burden was weighing him down. Something was wrong. He didn’t look well. The pain behind his eyes cried out for care before he said a single word. He needed help. I didn’t know what to do.
Raise your hand and ask to pray for him.
I shifted uncomfortably in my chair, opened up my binder to the correct spot, and placed my pen neatly on the page. I was probably hearing things, I told myself. Many other students in this class had close relationships with our professor. I’m sure God would want them to pray for him. Not me. Not the quiet girl whose name my teacher probably didn’t even know.
Pray for him.
I started to pray in my spirit for my professor, but the Voice was not getting softer. It was getting louder, like a Father coming to the rescue of His child.
Pray out loud. Raise your hand. You pray for him.
God wasn’t going to give up. He never does. His heart was hurting for His son’s unspoken request for comfort. He knew every detail of the situation and wanted to show him divine kindness. He saw my professor, broken and bleeding, struggling for the strength to educate a classroom full of 100 graduate students.
But I didn’t see my teacher. All I saw was the crowd.
All I focused on were the opinions of my fellow peers and what they would think if I raised my hand to pray for a man hardly knew. What if I made it awkward and my teacher refused to let me pray? What if my mind blanked and I didn’t know what to say? What if I was intruding on my professor’s life, highlighting fragments he didn’t want to share?
I cleared my throat, sat tall in my seat and began to lift my hand.
But then I froze.
I wanted to listen and obey, but instead, my prayers were paralyzed by fear. I slowly lowered my hand and head in shame. I couldn’t do it. Rather, I didn’t do it.
Thirty seconds later the student next to me raised his hand. “Professor, would it be alright if I prayed for you?”
My teacher looked at him with relief only a soul in sorrow could show. “I would love that. Thank you.”
Within seconds my professor was surrounded by multitude of students who laid their hands on their mentor and friend. Together they prayed, and we as a class carried our teacher’s burdens up to heaven in agreement. It was nothing less than holy.
As I stared at the scene in front of me, the Lord taught me a lesson that revolutionized my faith.
God wanted to use me. But in the end, even if I did not obey in His leading, His plan would come to pass.
Our Creator is always in the business of raising up faithful workers. Every day He invites us to partner with Him in sharing the beauty of the gospel through word and deed. It’s His choice to use us. And it’s our choice to let Him.
Even if we listen to the lies of the enemy or we turn away in fear or we decide to take
matters into our hands, God still has a sovereign plan. He still remains faithful. No person, place or thing can stop it from reaching its fruition. This brings a sense of freedom, as well as humility.
It’s freeing because God is in control, which means I can’t mess up the ultimate outcome of eternity. Besides my decision to follow Jesus and make Him the foundation of my life, all other choices can be used by God, even if they are wrong, to weave in His redemption and work out His merciful plan. Our Father’s purpose reigns supreme above all other agendas, authorities, or in my case, fear-based actions.
The Bible says, “In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:11-12 ESV). It’s amazing, right? To know we have been chosen as instruments of God’s glory. To know using us to change the world is His plan A. God’s will is not accidental. It’s intentional. And He intentionally places us where He wants us to be, to do exactly what He wants us to do.
Which leads me to my second point: God’s sovereignty is also humbling. I mean, why would God want to use us? Why would He want to use His imperfect children to carry out His perfect plan? He knows we have free will. There’s risk with that. So why does He decide to do it this way?
Because choosing to listen is an act of love, whereas being forced to obey is a form of bondage. We are not prisoners, we are partakers!
We are called to share in the blessings of doing Kingdom work. We have been granted access as partakers for His praise.
When God asks us to join with Him and love others, we get to show those around us glimpses of His steadfast care and compassion.
We get to be someone’s answer to prayer, and that is beyond humbling. It is an honor.
There will always be consequences for not obeying God. They range in intensity, depending on what we are refusing to say YES to. For me, saying NO to praying for my professor meant missing out on the full joy that comes from strengthening a weary member of the Body. It would have been amazing to serve my brother-in-Christ like that, and God knew both of our hearts desired it.
Nevertheless, God met his need. He raised up another and remained faithfully true. He used an ordinary day at class to demonstrate the extraordinary grace of our sovereign God.
His will was worked out, my friend. All for the sake of what’s good.
The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest writer series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. When we read each other’s stories of how He meets us, it reminds and reassures us that He is near. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.
Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive notifications for each new essay, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a link to a FREE five-day devotional called, “Closer: Five Days to Hearing God Louder."
Learn more about each of these five postures:
1 | Seek: If I Seek God, Will I Really Find Him?
2 | Know: Will God Speak, Even to Me?
3 | Expect: Can I Expect to Hear God?
4 | Listen: How Do I Listen for God?
5 | Connect: Is God Really Right Here?
New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!
Interested in contributing to the Hear Him Louder Essay Series? The call for submissions opens in January and June. To submit an essay outside of those windows, contact me.
Becky Beresford lives in Huntley, IL, and is happily outnumbered by her husband and three wild boys. She is a writer, dreamer and speaker with a Master’s Certificate in Discipleship from Moody Theological Seminary. Becky loves encouraging God’s Daughters to embrace their truest selves in Christ and walk out the gospel truths fully loved by God.
She would love to connect with you online at BeckyBeresford.com, where she hosts the weekly Brave Women Series, featuring different women and their journeys toward courage with Jesus. Sign up to receive these inspiring stories in your inbox, and you’ll also get a copy of the Brave Woman Manifesto: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard for FREE.