A City to Settle In
Just over a year ago, I felt lost. I realized that I wasn't living the life promised to me by TV commercials and music videos; I was overwhelmed by a job that I didn’t love; I didn’t have much of a social life, and I could have stood to gain a few pounds at the gym.
It was time for a change, so I prayerfully asked God to direct me as I transitioned into a new career, sought opportunities to develop new friendships, and started establishing healthy habits.
"Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
to a city where they could settle."
“God, I’m wandering in desert wastelands. Lead me to a city where I can settle.”
I put in the work. I took courses to sharpen my hard skills, passed a professional exam, and applied to dozens of jobs. When it came time for me to renew my contract at work, I declined in faith, trusting that God would be with me as I moved to something new. I made friends who enjoy being active, and we started running and lifting weights before work. I was looking forward to having it all: the job I loved, the social life I craved, and the good health I had earned. With God on my side, I knew it was a sure bet.
Fast-forward to today: the economy tanked and I ended up with an hourly job outside of my chosen field that just covers my daily expenses. I developed a painful chronic illness that restricts how I eat, limits how long I can be away from home, and has led to significant weight-loss. Consequently, I've had to decline many social invitations and am the least healthy I have ever been.
It would seem I’ve taken a step backward in every area of my life.
“God, this isn’t the city I thought we were going to! I can’t settle here! What’s the big idea!?”
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)
Before this all started, I counselled with God, seeking His direction. If I really believe that He is directing my life, then these things that have come my way must be good.
Let’s start the story over with a few more details:
Just over a year ago, I felt lost. I questioned if The Church of Jesus Christ was really where I was meant to be. I sometimes felt like I was just going through the motions. I didn’t feel close to God in my everyday life.
It was time for a change. As I prayed to God for answers, my health began to deteriorate. At first I wanted to keep it private, but when I finally asked people at church to pray for me, they were not only willing, they were enthusiastic and honored. It opened my eyes to what a rare treasure God has blessed me with in The Church of Jesus Christ, where so many people have such sincere, deep love for me. I had no idea.
As people sent me cards and called or visited me, I realized what it feels like to be uplifted from a low place. I understood more deeply the joy in reaching out to others in their dark hours. I started to pray more earnestly for others because I know how much I need people to pray for me. God reminded me that His purposes are bigger than me, me, me.
And even when I can’t see how God will provide in a few weeks, I have never met a day where my needs are not fulfilled abundantly for the moment I am in. God has been close to me, and I’ve heard Him speak to me in new ways.
The city I am in right now is not the city where I was hoping to settle. But God is leading me to settle in a far better city not of this life. Perhaps this city I’m in right now is one of many stops along the way to gather the supplies I need to make it there.
“Give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” (Psalm 107:8-9)
It’s hard to say it sometimes, but even though I hope I don’t stay in this city for long, I thank God that He has brought me here.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.