Ruts are the worst. Just the word “rut,” is ugly. And when we’re stuck in a financial, relational or whatever kind of rut, it can feel like you’ve been reduced to a speck on God’s worldwide radar when your prayers have been ignored for a seeming eternity. But before doubt and frustration creep in and rob your faith, it helps to remind ourselves of a few encouraging truths about God, and your rut.
Despite Your Mistakes, God Has a Plan
I used to think every time I forgot to tythe, or fell into a bad habit like drinking wine on a weeknight (3 boys people) that God wouldn’t answer my prayers. I think lots of us forget about God’s grace and convince ourselves we have to perform our way to blessings. “Ugh she went for the pinot again, forget that promotion!” But years of post-rut reflection have proved that when we feel we’re stuck in a holding pattern, it’s not because God’s not hearing our prayers, or we’re being punished. Many times God’s working behind the scenes, getting things in order, and arranging all the puzzle pieces for your good. The key is trusting him, instead of worrying you’ll be dealing with disobedient kids, or struggling to pay your mortgage forever.
Your Rut is TemporaryWhen you’re waiting for a big answer from God, it can be so frustrating when faithfully praying and seeing zero results. Your early-rut prayers that start off with a bang, claiming all the promises…“Lord, you said in your word, that whomever asks in your name”…are eventually reduced to “Seriously Lord, throw me a bone.” I went through a magical rut when trying to re-enter the workforce after child-rearing, and being ignored for what seemed like eternity. After the 20th rejection I felt like I was applying for jobs on prison-release, not coming off five years of baby-burping. My ego, my pride and my confidence were totally shot after even being ignored by the first employer that paid near pennies. At around the moment I was considering fir-bombing their corporate office, God intervened. My dream job posted on the worldwide web, and I was hired instantly, even though I was unqualified. God puts up with our whining, sees the big picture, and closes doors for good reasons.
Our Ruts Change Our Bad Attitudes
However it’s during these seasons that God generously takes the time to refine us in his image. During this job-hunt of horror, my refusal to put my babies in daycare led me with two very dire money-making options. Since prostitution clearly violated my spiritual standards the only thing left was night waitressing at an uppity grille/wine bar, resurrecting skills I hadn’t used since my TGI Friday days in college. God used this frightful season to refine me of all pride, as I assumed my willingness to lower myself plate-scraping status would lead to a quick embrace by the serving community I now called home. However after incriminating myself by admitting I had no clue about the origin of Malbec, and I indeed use a ‘bunny ears’ wine opener at home, l was quickly labeled an uncultured savage with no passion for the industry. I was ostracized and sometimes openly mocked by the entire childless, twenty-something staff, which only worsened after asking the chef what kind of cheese was used to make the burrata cheese sashimi (Burrata is a cheese…who knew). Now I enjoy my vino as much as the next sister, but these people talked about dark tannins like they’ve discovered life on Mars. You know we’ll flush this out in six hours, right? Even worse was witnessing the continual disappointment conveyed by my guests, hoping for the service of a stellar wine connoisseur, not a mommy gripping Bordeaux between her legs…”just…one…more second guys, whew tough cork!!”
My car rides home each night were usually accompanied by tears and Jesus Culture playlists to remind myself that this too, shall pass. But it took nine months of this kind of torment before God rescued me with the dream job. When I came out of that rut I was more humble, meek and grateful for office life than ever imaginable. You want the report by tomorrow? My friggin’ pleasure.
Your Rut Will Make You Trust Him
What other option is there, really. Years back we went through a terrible financial season that left us moving back to my mother’s, with two kids and one on the way. One more tense meal with Nana telling my kids to eat up, and I was ready to apply for Marriot residency status. Time to trust. God wants us to succeed and overcome. He’s not sitting back with freshly buttered popcorn waiting to see how many times it’ll take your mother reminding you to turn the lights off before you officially break down. He just wants you to rely on him for guidance and strength, knowing he has the power and resources to get you out of whatever situation you’re in. His word says to praise him during the trials, thanking him ahead of time for transporting you from sleeping in the bedroom you roof-jumped from as a wayward teen, to your long-awaited dream home.
Being stuck in any kind of dead end can test our faith, and sway our belief that God knows and cares about our struggles. He knows. He cares. The rest is just a matter if waiting and having faith in His goodness. If Joseph had to wait years in prison before that dream came to life, we can get through our two-year old’s “no” phase. It will pass!