This fall, I’ll be a senior in college. And at times, that seems to be the only certain feature of my future. After graduation, where will I live? Will I get a job? Will I be able to pay off student debt? If I move out of Columbia, will I make new friends? How hard will it be to find a new church? Should I work in hopes of someday returning to grad school? Would I ever end up going back for an advanced degree? Will I marry? If I marry, do I have a career or do I have kids? Or both? Or is there something completely different in store?
Half-jokingly, I’ve told friends, “I wish God would just give me the blueprint for my life. I know He’s got it! Even if I can’t have the whole thing, the next 10 years would definitely be a decent start.” Picturing the plans in my hands makes me bitter. Why would my generous God not allow me the peace of mind of knowing a few hints about my future? Why won’t He guide me? Why won’t He show me?
Kevin DeYoung’s book, Just Do Something, began to answer these questions. It also rebuked me. DeYoung addresses our anxiety about the future as something more than a crippling pre-occupation or an annoying character trait. He labels our hand wringing and demands for answers as “sin[s] of unbelief, indication[s] that our hearts our not resting in the promises of God” (DeYoung 48).
It’s pretty basic when we think about it: anxiety betrays our lack of trust. Discontent, restlessness and fear are symptoms of our blindness to God’s sovereignty in our lives. When we desire control over our lives, live in the future before it arrives, pretend to know what is in store for us or complain that our prayers and requests are not answered in a ‘timely’ manner, we cast ourselves as gods. As the created, we need to remember that we have a Creator who has control. As DeYoung explains, we can walk confidently into the future not because we know what it holds, but because God does.
We are not supposed to wait around after graduation, spiritualizing every decision or trying hard to discern God’s will for the next 10, 20 or 30 years. God’s will is being worked out in each one of us right now—and will continue to be worked out for as long as we live. He doesn’t give us a blueprint because He desires something more for us than a well-rehearsed life. Our sanctification is His desire. What is more beautiful and awesome than a God who wants to draw us nearer to Himself, making us more and more Christ-like and sharing in His inheritance?
DeYoung points out that in Romans 12 we are given 3 concrete commands that draw us closer to the Lord and help us to see His will more clearly in our day-to-day lives.
I appeal to your therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
These are certainties. We don’t have to guess or puzzle about how we gain wisdom and how the Lord sanctifies. Whatever our futures hold and whatever our callings are, we are always ultimately called to give our bodies as living sacrifices, not to conform to the world and to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. With God at the helm, we can be confident that He has begun a good work in us and will complete it. Praise the Lord!