Sometimes i think that situations turn out completely differently to how we expect, but despite this, we have to trust God has a purpose in them. One of my favourite passages is Mark 6:45-52. The disciples get into the boat, and face a storm on the sea. You could look at this situation and say that maybe they shouldn't have gone out in the boat that night, and then they would have avoided the storm.. but actually verse 45 says that Jesus "made His disciples get into the boat, and go before Him to the other side." Jesus told them to do it. Naturally you might presume that Jesus' purpose in this was 'cos He wanted them on the other side of the lake, and maybe He did... but when you read the passage, it seems that His purpose was much more than that... that maybe it had nothing much to do with location, but simply to do with the fact that He wanted them to meet that storm... because in meeting that storm they also met Him.... for He went out to them in the midst of it.. walked on water, calmed the storm, and left them "utterly astounded".
I really love this, because if i'm honest there have been times in my life where i have done something, thinking i knew God's purpose in it, only to discover the whole thing turned out completely differently to what i expected.... to discover the whole thing turned out a bit like a nightmare. Times like that can make you doubt if you heard God right in the first place, or if you just went completely wrong... but sometimes i think it's simply because God had a different purpose to ours. Maybe His purpose was that we would meet Him in the middle of that situation, at each moment on the journey, because He is more concerned with relationship than other things.
When we moved to the midlands, i expected things would turn out differently to how they have. For my family, as much as for me. But together we have realised that maybe God's purpose was different to ours. Maybe i would never have been healed if i hadn't come here? Maybe we have seen and learnt more about God from this strange 2 years, than if it had turned out how we expected. I don't really know. But i don't believe it was completely wrong for us to move here. Just that God's purpose was different to ours.
The second thing i like about this passage is that the disciples were actually "terrified" when they saw Jesus walking on water. It sounds like they were more afraid of Jesus than the storm. I don't know why exactly i like this, except i think that it shows how human they were.. and that even though Jesus had told them to go out on the boat, they still felt natural fear in that situation.. and even when they saw Jesus Himself, they were still terrified.... and i think Jesus knew that this was what was going to happen... and i think He knew that in the middle of this situation there would be the opportunity for them to see more of who He is, to learn to trust Him more and catch a greater sense of His power and His care for them.
Whatever the case, i guess God never asks us to question His purpose.. He just asks us to obey Him and trust Him with the rest..... even if what He tells us to do initially makes us afraid... even if it turns out completely differently to what we expect. And after all it says that "He cares for us" (1 Peter 5:7) And the fact that He cares and has proven Himself faithful in the past, should be enough to give us certainty that we can trust the future to Him too...
I know from experience that this can sound simplistic though, and in reality it can be much harder to walk in such faith - i am naturally fearful and anxious and always wonder if i got it all wrong - but i don't think that makes it any less true.