He set me up. Of course I didn’t see it right away. But months in, I knew—just knew—that this wasn’t my idea.
It all began on July 20, 2016 when over lunch, a friend of mine posed the group a question, “What are three things—that are within your control—you could do this year, that will make you look back and say that it was a good year?”
My chest sunk. I instinctively knew two of my answers, but my thoughts lingered on the third.
2016 was a season of transitions—from new writing assignments to the people I was connecting to, to the kinds of books I found myself interested in. There was a question that kept playing in my head in the first part of the year, what was God’s point in all of this?
“Sam. Your turn.” Uh-oh. I ran out of ideas.
Then, out of either pure insanity or bravery, I answered, “Launch a website.”
That was it. No details. No clear plans. But in that moment, I heard the answer to the question I’ve been asking God all along. The answer I’ve been keeping to myself for so many months.
You know those scenes in the movies where everyone goes about their business, but for one person, everything changes? That was that scene for me.
I couldn’t take the answer back. Even if I were able to hypnotize my friends to forget what I said, I knew that it was already out there. Even if all the world forgot about it, I knew I couldn’t. And in that one statement, I found myself in a new season.
Have you ever gotten into a situation where you thought, “God you did this, didn’t you?” For me, this website is living proof that these situations do happen.
But how can we know if something was really set up by God or not? Here were several clues that I learned through my experience:
- God’s plans are always founded on His Word.
When God tells you to do something, He never says something that either contradicts His Word or is not found in His Word at all. As I prayed about this for months, there was just confirmation after confirmation of it in my daily scripture reading.
His Word always came at opportune times—on the days when I’d formulate all these article ideas, on the nights when I’d cry over certain problems, on the nights when I felt in lack. The key was to keep going back to God’s Word to verify and make sense of the situation.
As simple as it sounds, a great way that we can receive confirmation about God’s plans for us is through His Word as it is the most tangible, powerful, and accessible expression of God on earth.
- God’s plans are always accompanied by spiritual warfare.
I knew that this idea wasn’t in my character. I imagined that this would eat up a lot of my time and would cost money. I already felt the fear of failing creeping up. Yet I couldn’t not do this.
Despite the risks involved if I were to continue on this route, there was something about this idea that I couldn’t let go of. It was as if shying away from all those risks would be even riskier to my soul. The odds were telling me everything about it that wouldn’t work, that didn’t add up, and that I would have to give up… yet the little voice of my soul said otherwise. How could that soft, small voice trump all the other voices in my head? I can only think of one reason—that that voice was none other than the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual warfare always happens when you are being moved by the Holy Spirit. This is because God’s plans for you are so great that the flesh inside of us—our fears, pains, insecurities, and sins—will try to stop them from coming true. But we can prevail by asking His Spirit to intercede and guide us towards His plans.
- God’s plans are always supported by circumstance.
The way I knew that this was where He was leading me was because He started connecting me to the very people who mentored and supported me throughout this process. Some of these relationships were years in the making, while other relationships blossomed just as quickly. He started opening up my eyes to books on Christian literature and writing. He gave me some experience in the past on managing the backend of websites.
The verse 1 Corinthians 14:33 says that “God is not a God of confusion…” God will never lead you to a place and leave you hanging. He will never make you do something without equipping you first (Ephesians 4:12). He will orchestrate events and encounters that will help you fulfill His plans.
God is a gentleman. He will tell you of His intentions and plans before actually doing it. Not because He needs our permission, but because He desires our obedience.
- God’s plans are always assured by His peace.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I have to admit that the journey to this first entry wasn’t easy at all. This could even be described as the most terrifying episode of my life thus far.
But what gave me peace was having the faith to believe that He knows more than I will never know, and works in ways I will never understand. And that is why when God has a plan for me, He always goes ahead of me.
When God sets you up, He ushers you into what could either be your greatest lesson or greatest moment yet.
Notice, I did not use the word failure or any of its synonyms. That’s because God doesn’t make physical prosperity to be the end goal of His plans for us (although prosperity isn’t a bad thing).
Rather, at the end of the day, what God really wants out of all these plans is one thing: intimacy with Him. This was the original purpose of man, and became the destiny that we have received through Jesus Christ.
As I write this, I have no idea what is to become of this website or these entries. But I’m glad that He set me up, and I’m looking forward to learning and celebrating with you.
Question: When was the last time God set you up for something great? How did you feel? Comment on the section below