Joyce Meyer - The Test of Trust
Well, how do you react when life delivers the unexpected: unexpected pain, disappointment, trouble, or even tragedy? God can be trusted but how do you put that in to application when times are tough? Let me teach you about the test of trust and then I'll be back to answer some of your questions.
"Why, God, why"? The question that never goes away, "Why"? And you can ask it all you want to but it's the question that rarely gets an answer. Even Jesus said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? He didn't get an answer. The Bible doesn't say that God said anything back to him. So, the next thing Jesus said was, "Into your hands I commit my Spirit". I love that. I mean, all of our pain together would never equal what Jesus went through on the cross for us. We don't even begin to fathom.
How many of you know how heavy, and icky, and awful it makes you feel when you do something like, you mess up really bad? I mean, not like one of these little sins, I mean, you really just, okay, now just imagine having every sin of every human that ever lived put on you all at one time and trying to bear that. I can't even fathom the pain. And, he said, "Why have you forsaken me"? We often feel, in our pain, that we've been forsaken but we never are because he's Emmanuel, God with us, always with us. In us, under us, around us, never leaves us nor forsakes us. And, I just feel very strongly tonight that I'm supposed to impress on you that no matter what you're going through God is with you and he will redeem it. He'll make something beautiful out of it.
Now, this doesn't all just happen magically. There are things that you will need to do to cooperate with God. I'm not gonna give you a list of, do these five things and your problems will be over. There is no such list. I'm just gonna tell you to follow God. Follow God. Whatever he shows you to do, do it. And, if there's nothing for you to do then stand firm and wait on him. Sometimes, he takes a lot longer than we'd like, but he knows what he's doing. The only time you realize that is after you've gone through it and you look back and see the good things that came out of what you went through. How many of you can say that you would not be the person you are today if you had not gone through some of the things that you went through?
So, the question that never goes away is, "Why"? But yet, Proverbs 3:5-7 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path. Be not wise in your own eyes". I love that. It's almost like saying, "Don't even think that you're smart enough to solve your own problems". If I could just do a joyce meyer translation on that, that's what I would say. Don't even think that you're smart enough to figure out what you should do in this situation. And I love this, "It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones". In other words, when we stop trying to figure everything out, just turn everything over to God, it's healthy...
You know, a lot of people, and I don't say this in a judgmental way at all because I've had my share of physical issues, but a lot of people that are sick are just sick because they worry all the time, and their mind never shuts down, they're constantly thinking about somethin', constantly trying to figure somethin' out, worrying about somethin' all the time, upset about somethin' all the time, angry about somethin' all the time. When I look back at how I was, 42 years ago when I started this journey with God, and how I am today, I can honestly say I am definitely not the same person.
Now, you may not feel like God is changing you or doing anything in your life because it happens just, little tiny bits. And sometimes, when you've got a mountain of problems, you may go five years and feel like you haven't changed that much at all but really you have. It's just, the devil wants you to focus on what's still wrong with you. Amen? Instead of looking at how far you've come. Don't look at how far you have to go, look at how far you've come. And, don't look at what you don't have, look around you at what you do have and be thankful for those things. There are tests that come into our life. And, a smart person learns to pass the test right away. Because in God's economy, in his school of life, you never fail. You just get to keep taking the test over, and over, and over, and over until you finally pass it.
I'll give you an example. You know, I was a Christian a long time before I got serious with God. I had the ticket to heaven but I had no victory here at all. I believed in Jesus. I loved him as much as I knew how to. But, I had every kind of character problem that you could possibly have. I mean, I was not a nice person, but I went to church every week and I was even on the evangelism team. It's amazing how, "Religious," we can be without being, "Christ-like". Come on. And so, I was very impatient. I'm still impatient, but not very impatient like I used to be.
After 42 years, thank God, I've made a little progress, but I still have a ways to go. And, not so much being impatient with God, but just stuff, and people and slow people that, how many of you know what I'm talkin' about, you know? And, I had important things to do and I was always in a hurry. And, I didn't like it if other people didn't keep on my schedule. And so, the only way that God can get you to realize some things in your life is to keep letting you go through things that bring it out of you. I always say, "You never know how juicy an orange is till you squeeze it".
I remember one day paying a dollar for an orange, and this was like, a long time ago when that was just like, ridiculous, but it was so pretty. It was the most beautiful orange, and I was so hungry. And, I took it out to my car and I cracked it open, and it was dry and tasteless. And, you know, that's the way a lot of Christians are, they're fine until you squeeze 'em. You put a little pressure on and here comes the real me. And see, God can't change us until we come into agreement with him and ask him for his help.
So, we have to meet ourselves. We have to see ourselves as we really are, not just the way we think we are. I can think that I'm a forgiving person until somebody really hurts me and God deals with me to forgive. I can think that I am very, very unselfish until God asks me to give up something that I really, really like. You know, nobody minds gettin' rid of all the junk in your closet that you haven't worn for 10 years. We send that to goodwill and think that we're big givers.
Well, they did you a favor taking it off your hands. But, what about when God asks you to give away your favorite something or your only something. But you know, something God has taught me is once he puts his hand on somethin' and claims it for kingdom work, if you keep it you'll never enjoy it after that. But anyway, God used clerks in stores to just about drive me crazy. I mean, every time I'd go to the grocery store, I got so many lessons in the grocery store, it was ridiculous. Every time that I went to the grocery store, I would get a clerk that there were somebody in front of me that had no prices on their items, and you'd have to go through all that rigmarole of waitin' for 'em to try to find somebody to get the prices and on, and on, and on. And then, maybe, somebody didn't have enough money and they had to start takin' stuff out. Well now, I would just pay for their groceries, but back then, I was not nearly that generous.
And so, I finally got spiritual enough, I started praying about which line to get in. Even that didn't work. And, I finally knew that God had my number when I went to a department store one day and tried to buy somethin' and I could find no clerk. So, we went from slow clerk to no clerk. It's amazing how sometimes, every 2 seconds, somebody can say, "Can I help you"? "Can I direct you to something"? "Did you hear about our sale"? And it's like, "Please don't tell me about that sale one more time, 20 people have told me about that sale". And then, you wanna buy somethin' and you can't find anybody to take your money.
It's a setup. You might as well just say, "I know what's going on. And I'm going to pass my test". Listen to this. We're only promoted after we passed our tests. So, every time you're going through a test, you need to just say, "I've got a promotion coming". Come on. I've got a promotion coming. Nobody goes to second grade without passing tests at the end of first grade. Nobody goes to third grade without passing tests at the end of second grade. We understand that. It happens in 4th grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, 9th grade, 10th grade, 11th, 12th , and on into college. Why would it be any different when you step out into life?
We have to pass our tests, these are spiritual tests, before we are promoted. And, there's so many great scriptures that back this up. And you know, I'm talkin' mainly tonight about not the major disasters that come into our life. You know, and I don't think God uses those things to test us. That's the devil just tryin' to bring destruction into your life. But, I do believe that God will hem us in behind and before, and lay his hand on us, and put us in places, I mean, how many of you have prayed, "God, change me"? Well? "Oh God, make me patient".
Well, you know, what the Greek, the original Greek for the word patience says, "It's a Fruit of the Spirit that only grows under trial". You can't get it any other way. 'Cause how can you be patient if you have nothing to be patient about? How can you learn to love the unlovely if everybody that you're around is a sweet lovely person that's just like you and does everything you want 'em to do? So, if you're working next to somebody that's obnoxious it's not gonna do you any good to quit that job and go get another one, 'cause you'll just get some more on the next job.
James 1:12-14, "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I'm being tempted by God,' for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he's lured and enticed by his own desire". In other words, God never tempts us to sin. And when were in difficult times, that's really when we are tempted to sin and do things that we shouldn't do. But he uses those times to bring things out of us that we don't really know are, like, for example, I have never, one time in my life, been tempted to rob a bank. Now, I just have not.
Has anybody ever been tempted to rob a bank? Yeah, oh look, hands are up. You know, that's not an issue for me. But, I've been tempted to stay mad at people that have hurt me. I've already told you that, I mean, it says trials will bring out patience. Well, let me tell ya, that brought a lot of stuff out of me before we ever got around to patience. So, we have to know ourselves, we have to get to know ourselves. And, when you see things that come out that surprise even you... You don't have to feel guilty and condemned. Thank God that he cares enough about you to show you those things so you can repent and ask God to help you get delivered from 'em.
Tests are good because they prove us, they show us what's needed in our life. Tests bring out the weak areas in our life. James 1:2-4, "Count it all joy, my brethren," I don't know, do you like that scripture? That is one annoying scripture. "Count it all joy, my brothers when, you meet various trials". Well, it doesn't say, I'll feel joyful". It says, "Count it joy". And I say this sometimes, "This is so good for me... Oh God, I hate this but it is so good for me. It is so good for me to deal with this obnoxious clerk and stay nice".
You think I'm kidding? I'm not kiddin', this is the way I live. "Oh God, it's good for me to wait in this line. It's good. It's good for me God, when I don't get my way. Thank you. For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness, or patience. So, let steadfastness, or patience have its full effect, that you may be perfect and entire lacking in nothing". Lord help us. David prayed for tests. I am not on that level yet. Psalm 26:2, "Prove me, o Lord, and try me: test my heart and my mind. And see if there is any wicked way in me".
I've not done that, maybe next year. I don't know. I have asked God to show me stuff that I'm not seeing. But, you know what? How many of you got a good testimony in your life? Well, I do too. See, I think I've got a great testimony. But you know, you don't have a testimony without a test. And you've probably heard me say this before but it's funny anyway, most people after the test, all they have is the monies they never get around to the testimony. It's kinda like God's pattern of how he deals with people.
In Deuteronomy 8:2-4, he said this to the Israelites when he brought them out of Egypt, "And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these 40 years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not". How good is that? It's not hard to do what you're supposed to do when everything feels good, and it's going just right, and everything's coming up rosy. But how 'bout continuing to do what's right when nothing right seems to be happening to you? How 'bout treating somebody right that still hasn't started treating you right?
This is a painful message, even for me. And you know, the Bible says that he could have led them a shorter way, a faster and a shorter way, but he led them the long way on purpose because they were not yet ready for war. See, they thought, "Go in and possess the Promised Land," but they didn't realize that the word possess means to first, dispossess the current occupants. Once they crossed over that Jordan, they had war after war, after battle after battle because all the land that God wanted them to take somebody was living on it and they had to first deal with them.
So, God kept 'em out in the wilderness testing them because he was building them up. He was strengthening them. He was getting them to the point where they trusted him and him alone before he could let them go in because they would have just gotten annihilated. And see, sometimes we're praying for God to use us, but we're not usable yet. And, God wants to use us and the raw material is there, but we have to go to the school of the Holy Ghost first, amen? You know, when God spoke to me, 42 years ago when I was makin' my bed and said, "You're gonna go all over the world and teach my Gospel". Oh, I thought surely the next day. Y'all okay out there?
You're not ready for promotion until you can pass the test. 1 Peter 1:6-7, "You have been grieved by trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire, maybe found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ". You know, when Jesus comes back he wants to find a mature church. A church that's not all selfish and self-centered and only concerned about themselves. He wants to come back to find a church that walking in faith and walking in love. And, he said, "Why are you going through these things? Your faith is being tested".
And, you know what happens? Every time you pass a test, your faith gets a little bit stronger. I was thinking, and I'm glad God reminded me of this. When do you come to fully trust God? Well, I don't know if any of us, ever 100%, completely trust with never having any doubt, but when do you come to a place where your usual response to a problem is to trust God? To not worry about it, to not get upset about it, to not get anxious about it, just pray about it and trust God. I'll tell you what I think it takes. You won't go home and trust God just because you heard a sermon tonight about trusting God. What has to happen is we have to have experience with God.
And, what I mean by that, is these issues and things come up in your life and you find yourself shut in behind and before and you finally figure out, "Well, I guess I'll just pray, there's nothing else to do". That is the most ridiculous statement because prayers should always be the very first thing that we do never a last-ditch effort. I tell you, just in this last six or seven months, I have become more aware than ever of how powerful just a simple prayer can be. It's not an obligation, it's a privilege to be able to take our messes to God and say, "Would you get involved in this and help me with it"? Don't ever have a problem and not pray about it. And don't try to do, "Well, God, I've done everything I can do, I guess, I'll just pray". You pray first because when you pray it opens a door for God to go to work in your life. And, I mean, pray about everything, everything.
We had tickets to go see an Elvis Impersonator. When I was a teenager, Elvis was the big thing, and I was a nutty fan like all the other teenagers. And so, we wanted to go see this Elvis Impersonator. Dave wanted to go, and I wanted to go. And so, we were able to get the two tickets we needed but the theater was just basically, almost full. So, several weeks later, my daughter decided she wanted to go too, and so God gave us favor and we got one more ticket. But, the place was just full, she was not sitting with us. And you know, we really wanted her to be able to sit with us. And so, I said, "Let's just pray that God will open up seats next to us or next to you".
Well, that sounded ridiculous, they'd already told us that the theater was completely full. And sometimes, you don't even wanna say, "Let's pray about this," because then if God doesn't answer your prayer, you know, and this other person now knows you've prayed about it, but we gotta get over all that stuff. And so, I said, "Let's just pray about it. Lord, I pray that you'd open up seats next to Dave and I, or next to Sandy so we can all sit together". Now, if she would of sat with us, we would have only needed one seat. But, if we would have sat with her, we would have needed our two seats and then one other person that was with us. The show started, and next to Sandy was four empty seats.
We waited, you know, to make sure somebody wasn't just late. And, it became obvious that nobody was coming and so, we moved back there and all got to sit together. And that wasn't a coincidence. That wasn't luck. God heard my prayer that was not all that spiritual. Come on, I'm telling you pray about everything. Life can get so exciting if we let God into stuff, and if we quit just falling apart and throwing a fit every time things don't go our way. But, the more experience that you have with God, little things like that, big things that he does for you, the more experience you have with God, little by little, the more you begin to trust him. And, pretty soon, it just becomes natural. It's like, you don't worry and have to have reasons for everything, and know the answer to everything you just, "God is faithful". Does anybody understand what I'm saying?
And, I'm telling you what, when you first come into a walk with the Lord, and you're hearing, "Trust God," it's not an easy thing because we have not been brought up to trust anything except ourselves. And so, God has to first show us how feeble we are and that we can't do anything without him. And then, we put our trust in people, so God shows us their weaknesses and then we get all hurt. But, it actually, even in that, one of the greatest hurts I had in my life was when a group of my, "Friends", I mean, turned on me. I was in ministry and these ladies worked with me, and we had our little group, and you know, these were my best buddies.
Well, God was ready to promote me to leaving that position and going in my own ministry. I didn't know it yet though. And, one of them thought they got a word from God that I was into New Age stuff and I mean, just weird, goofy stuff, and prophesied, "God's gonna remove the candlestick if". You know. And, I'm like, "What is going on"? I mean, it hurt me so bad that I thought that I would absolutely die. And, it took me three years to get over it. It was so painful to me because I trusted them, and I thought that they really loved me. But you know what? Later on, I realized if that wouldn't have happened, when God promoted me into my own ministry, I would have taken every one of 'em and put 'em on my staff.
And, you know, the higher up you go, if you've got the wrong people with you, the worse mess it's gonna make. So, even when God is removing people from your life, friends are disappointing you, you're finding out people aren't what you thought they were, don't get bitter and think you can't trust anybody. Just thank God that he's gonna get you the friends that you need that are actually, gonna build you up, but let Jesus be your best friend, amen? Those were hard tests for me but things that I had to go through to do some of the things that I'm doing now. How many of you tend to worry? That's right, put 'em up nice and high. None of this stuff. You know, some mothers think they're not good mothers if they don't worry about their kids.
I said something to somebody recently that was doing my hair, and something about not worrying about your kid, and she said well, "You know, we're gonna worry". And I thought, "No I'm not". You know why? I worried about my kids, and they all grew up, and they're all serving God, and they've all got good lives. They've all still got imperfections. But, some of the ones that I thought would never amount to anything... Come on, don't tell me you don't have kids like you want to... "Will you ever get out of the house and be able to take care of yourself? Am I going to have to take care of you the rest of your life"?
And it's funny, one of my daughters who's just a real good friend of mine. She was so messy and sloppy, and forgetful, and oh my gosh. I thought it would drive me absolutely insane. And you know, I'd give the mother speech, "If you're gonna live in my house"... Come on, anybody know that speech? "If you are gonna live in my house, you are gonna do things my way". And that daughter, when she got away from me, got married, she didn't speak to me for six months, and she just let her house get in a mess. One day, I was out with her and I had to go to the bathroom and I said, "Let me go to the bathroom at your place before I leave". She said, "Nope, you're not coming into my house. You are not coming in my house. I'll pray for you to make it home, but you're not coming in my house".
And that girl now, takes care of me. When I go to the doctor, she goes with me so she can remind me of what he said. She runs all my errands and takes care of our finances for us, with our money of course, but she still takes care of 'em. And, I would have never, in my wildest imagination, ever have thought that I could trust that girl to keep my life organized. So, I'm just telling ya, you're worrying for nothing. Just pray, be a good example, and go on about your business, and enjoy your little life because they're gonna grow up and leave home and they're gonna surprise you. If you're a good example and you pray for them, I do believe that if you train 'em up, right eventually, they'll come back around to doing what's right. I can't say that 100% for sure, all the time 'cause we know people have free will, but I mean... Both of our sons work at the ministry and, ehh, I can't get in to all that... But, you know, I would have never thought that they could ever do what they're doing now.
So, "Be on your guard against the cares of this world," the Bible says. Luke 21:34, "But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap". You know, the Bible talks a lot about the day of the Lord and how we need to be more concerned about the day that he's coming back. In other words, we need to be living our life now, getting ready for there. Come on. We need to live our life now, getting ready for there because this is very short and that's forever. And, I don't want to still be in kindergarten when I get there. Amen? I wanna hang out with Moses, and John, and Jesus, and Peter, you know. If there's any preachin' in heaven, I've already asked God, "Let me do a seminar with those guys".
Well, you have not because you ask not. Alright, let's talk about a few times when it's hard to trust God. Trusting when you don't see the way. You know, God led the Israelites by ways that they did not understand. They didn't know where their food was going to come from. And, they got hungry and here comes this stuff being rained out of the sky every morning. And, manna just means, what is it. And so, they're like, "What is this"? But, he told 'em they could only gather one day's worth at a time. But, the test was that there was more there, so the temptation was there. Do you understand what I'm saying? He didn't just show up with enough for each day outside each person's tent. The ground was covered with the stuff and God said, "Only enough for one day".
I think in preparation for the sabbath they could gather two days worth. But, if they gathered more than God told 'em to, it would get rotten and stink. God was determined to teach them how to trust him. And talk about creativity, I don't know that I would have cared for this but he said in Deuteronomy 8:4, "Your clothing did not wear out and your feet did not swell these 40 years". So, 40 years ladies, without a new outfit. What do you think? And, you've been depressed 'cause you didn't get to go shopping for two weeks. What about trusting when you don't understand?
Oh my gosh. Lord, I was so addicted to reasoning, ugh! I could not settle down until I thought I understood what was going on in my life. And we had these little mail slots at the office then. We only had maybe 15, 20 employees and they each had a little mailbox, but it was just like, a little slot in the wall. And sometimes, when you're putting things in people's slots, you get somethin' in the wrong slot.
So, when God decided to speak to me about this reason thing he used that as an example with me. He said, "You gotta have everything figured out before you can settle down". But he said, "Half the time, you think you got it figured out, but you've got it in the wrong slot". But see, if I thought I had it figured out, then I could calm down and be okay. And see, so even when you think you've got God figured out, you don't. That's why we have to really learn to take life one day at a time and trust God each day. "A man's steps are from the Lord: how then can a man understand his way"? See, God sees the whole picture but we only see what's right in front of us. We want a blueprint for our whole life, but God won't give you that. You know what he gives you? One step, one step.
Joyce: Well, you know, it's really true that tests and trouble bring out our weaknesses and show us what we need God to change in our lives. You can't do anything about something that you don't know is there. So, let's dig in now, a little bit more, and get very practical. Ginger has some of your questions about trusting God that I'm going to trust God that I'll be able to answer.
Ginger: Well, we have a lot of people who are asking questions about particular things in their life. And so, I think it just really helps all of us who are listening, who are saying, "Yeah, I can relate to that. How do I get through this situation"? First of all, Lillian says, "How can I learn to wait upon the Lord when going through trials and tribulation because most of the time I lose patience through trials"?
Joyce: Well, it's interesting about waiting because we're going to wait whether we like it or not. So, it's not an issue of, "Will I wait"?
Ginger: That's true.
Joyce: I mean, everybody waits, it's just a matter of whether we wait in a manner that can be a peaceful time for us or rather we wait being totally upset all the time. And, you know, probably a lot of these questions are gonna really come down to the same answer. It's about learning how to trust God. And, in this issue of waiting, it's learning to believe that our times are in his hands. That it really is God in charge of not only what happens in our life, but when it happens. And, the best advice that I can offer about trusting God is we all need to do it. We all want to do it. We all have trouble doing it at different times in our life. And especially, the younger you are in the Lord, the less time you've spent walking with God, the more difficult it is. The longer you walk with God the more experience you have of seeing his faithfulness and it gets easier. However, we all have certain things, I call 'em, "Weaknesses," that, in that area it's harder for us to trust God and not worry than it is in some other areas. And so, all I can tell you is you just gotta do what I do. You keep trusting the best of your ability and ask God to help you. When you can't, stay in the word, study the scriptures, get around positive people that are full of faith, and fight the good fight.
Ginger: Yeah, I am not an inherently patient person. I know that's surprising to you.
Joyce: Oh yeah, it shocks me.
Ginger: I am not. But it has really helped me to learn through the years of different times of waiting on God, what God has done in that waiting time. That he always uses that time for something positive to come out of it even though it's still really hard as you go through it.
Ginger: Alright, here's a question from Linda from Texas. "How do I completely release all of my troubles, worries, anxiety, and fear to God? I have a huge mountain before me to climb and I'm so scared. So, how do I trust him when it looks insurmountable"?
Joyce: Well, I noticed she said, "How can I completely". So, I'm still working on that myself, so I don't know if I can give an instant answer to how you can completely trust God because satan's always throwing new things at us. And, you know, if you're real tired it's more difficult.
Ginger: That is so true.
Joyce: If you feel bad, it's more difficult. It just depends on how many things he's throwing at you at once. And, I have one certain issue in my life that it's challenging for me in that issue to trust God. And, I don't even know why because it's more of a silly thing than like a real, "Big," problem type thing. But, I don't think we value experience with God enough. And so, if she's got a mountain of difficulties in front of her, she can only get through it one thing at a time. And, remembering when you feel like you're gonna cave in and fall apart that God says, "He will never allow more to come on us than what we can bear," with every temptation he also always provides the way out. And so, trusting God is a decision. It doesn't always help your feelings. And, you may have to pull your thoughts back outta the wrong place a thousand times that day, but you will get better at it as time goes on. And, I think part of what helps us trust God is really realizing there's nothing we can do about the situation.
Ginger: Yeah, that's true.
Joyce: There's nothing we can do. And, if God can't do it then it's just not gonna get done.
Ginger: Yeah, it doesn't make you hopeless. It makes you put your hope in the right place instead of in yourself.
Joyce: And, I think instead of looking at it like we have to trust God, I've tried to look at it more like a privilege. You know, I can worry, God will still love me. I can be anxious. I can talk negatively about my situation, God's still gonna love me. But, I also have the option of trusting God and so I've found out that works better.
Ginger: There's a quote right there. You can do it the other way if you want. God's not gonna turn his back from you. But, it's going to be a whole lot easier...
Joyce: Much but you better on your nerves.
Ginger: Yeah, that's good. Melanie says, "I'm in a situation of despair. I lost my dream job and now I'm very worried. Can you tell me some steps that I can take to put my trust in God instead of taking this burden on myself"? Whenever we're talking about finances and our livelihood the first thing you think is, "What do I do now"?
Joyce: Well, she says that she lost her dream job, but she's not saying that she can't still find a good job. And, here again, it's trusting God that he's got you where he wants you at the right time. And, I know from experience with God, that sometimes where he puts me is not where I'd like to be. And, God led the Israelites the long hard way on purpose even though there was a shorter route to the Promised Land. He led them the long hard way on purpose because of all the things that they needed to learn before they got to the Promised Land. And, you know, I have many stories that I could tell, but we don't have time for that, but I just know from experience that God knows best, and to believe that he loves you, and that he has your best in mind, and to realize, you know, we all find ourselves saying, "What am I doing here"?
Ginger: Yeah, that's really true.
Joyce: "What am I doing here"? Especially, when it gets uncomfortable or it gets hard. And, if you're there, there's a purpose. And, if you're where you're not supposed to be and you pray, God will get you outta there and get you to the right place.
Ginger: Have you been in those circumstances?
Joyce: Oh, no, Ginger, not me.
Ginger: Well, you know, where your just like, "This is not what I expected, what is going on"? You know, during your walk with Christ.
Joyce: Okay, for example, I taught home Bible studies for five years, that was the beginning of my ministry. And then, I felt like I had a word from God, you know, "Stop doing the Bible studies. Behold, I do a new thing". Well, I thought surely, the next day, I'd be goin' to the world. My training days are over. Well, for the next year, I did absolutely nothing in ministry. Not one door was open. I felt like God just put me up on a shelf. And, I didn't know if he was done with me, did I make a mistake stopping the Bible studies? You know...
Ginger: That makes me feel better that you asked all those questions. "Where did I mess up"?
Joyce: On and on, and on... And, I didn't really realize until at the end of the year, because then I actually was introduced to somebody that I ended up going to work at their church and that was the next five years of my ministry, but I didn't realize until after that year of what I made miserable that God used that year to teach me not to try to be like other people. And, I don't have time to tell all the stories that go with it. But, you know, I was tryin' to be like Dave, I was tryin' to be like my next-door neighbor, I was tryin' to be like my pastor's wife. I tried to be like so many people that I didn't even know who I was. And, God wanted me to follow him not people. And, people can be an example, but they should never be our standard in life.
Ginger: Or where we put our trust.
Joyce: We live life forward, we understand it backwards. And, some of the things, people watching today, some of the things they're going through they don't understand, they probably will have some understanding later and they probably will even say, "Now, I see that it was good that it happened".
Ginger: That makes trust a whole lot easier when you have that experience.
Joyce: That's exactly right.
Ginger: It's not always the same, but you can say, "I could trust God back here, so now I can trust him here too".