By Julian Lowe, CAYA (OYP NS Community)
As I ponder about the past few years of my life have unfolded, the word I would use to describe it is turbulent. There were many instances where the desires I had for my life did not pan out in the way I intended, often being told by Jesus that he had different plans from that of what I had for myself. One of the toughest moments was the abrupt end of my dream of becoming a pilot in 2018. As a result, I always struggled with the question “so, what’s next for you?” as it always seemed to be changing.
Hence, closing the chapter of polytechnic life and entering into a new and uncertain season brought about copious amounts of fear. While the next 2 years of my life were already set in stone doing National Service, the time beyond that felt extremely unclear. Questions about what to study in university and what career to pursue thereafter were always on my mind. This often left me in a state of fear and panic, struggling to see where Jesus was taking me. And as I thought of the many ways things could unfold badly, my go-to reaction was to scramble for control over my life’s direction. As a result, I would regularly find myself living my life paralyzed with anxiety, constantly questioning if I was making the right moves when making decisions.
However, in His goodness, Jesus refused to allow me to remain crippled by such fears. Through a conversation with a brother in Christ, He reminded me that the apostles themselves were not always in positions of security or safety either. Simon Peter was challenged to walk toward Jesus on the open waters while the apostles battled the raging storm on the Sea of Galilee. Yet in those fearful situations, Jesus gave to them the gift of faith, and the realisation that He is trustworthy and always came through for them. Similarly, Jesus was calling me to step out onto the waters even amidst my own perceived lack of safety. He desired to begin the process of opening up my heart to trust, and show me in the same way how He does not fail.
As I spent time with Jesus in front of the Blessed Sacrament that night, He brought me back to the various moments in my life that initially left me downcast when I saw my plans fall through. In my brokenness, I only saw those painful moments as negative experiences of God denying my desires. However, as I dove deeper, Jesus showed me how in each individual scenario, He was actually paving a way for things to work out for my good, in fashions so marvellous that I could never imagine for myself. In particular, I saw how closing the door to becoming a pilot actually opened the one that helped me discover another branch of the aviation industry that I really had a passion for – airport operations! Being moved to tears at the realisation of His faithfulness, He went on to reveal an image of my anxious heart beating rapidly, just as it has always done when contemplating the uncertainties of my life. However, now, that same heart was beating safely in the tender hands of Jesus Christ as he looked after it with such care and affection. Jesus was asking me, “will you allow me to lead you down the path I have set for you and show you once again how I can surprise you with that?”. Jesus reminded me that he is not someone who makes empty promises, but someone who comes through for me in every circumstance. The denial of my desires is not the denial of goodness in my life, but the redirecting of my path towards the true fullness that he has for me.
Today, while I still await the outcome of my university applications with the same uncertainty, I recognize that God is my security even though I have not arrived at the answer. The lies still resurface from time to time, but by bringing the worries I hold in my heart to Him, confessing my unbelief and holding close the truth of His faithfulness, I am able to actively surrender my need for self-reliance and control to Him. Today, I rest in the knowledge that I am safe because He says I am safe. I choose to make the conscious step to live my life in freedom and peace because I know that He who commands the very storms, the winds and the waves, is in command of my life too.
Brothers and sisters, if you too are entering into a season of uncertainty, be it awaiting university application outcomes, looking for jobs or discerning relationships, I invite you too to take a step back amidst the fear, and realise who holds your life. Jesus asks you the same question, “will you allow me to lead you down the path I have set for you and show you once again how I can surprise you with that?”. May you remember that giving Jesus control doesn’t make you any less safe, secure or invulnerable. For faithful he has been and faithful he will be!