Josh Irby

Live from Sarajevo

God is good at keeping secrets

“We make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps”

I believe all of us are born with a desire for a meaningful life. We want to have a purpose, a reason for our existence. This, I believe, is universally common.

However, so few people seem to find it.

Why is that?

Perhaps it has to do with how we go about finding it. According to my observation, the most common approach to finding purpose is to sit around and hope that a meaningful life will come knocking. This is the wait and see approach. This perspective often leaves people paralyzed—fearful that the “may not be home” when purpose finally comes to the door. Sometimes this approached is even dressed up in spiritual clothing.

“I don’t want to do anything until I know that God wants me to do it.”

“I am waiting on clarity from God.”

Despite the religious language, though, this seems to be a lower (or smaller) view of God.

The God that I have come to know—especially through this Miss Irby project—is a very BIG God. He is all-powerful. He is all-knowing. He does not come up with plans day-to-day as we do. His schedule is broken up by centuries and millennia. That does not mean that he ignores the minutia. It just means that he is not afraid to keep a secret for 100 years.

Last spring a friend came to visit us in Sarajevo. I told her the story of Miss Irby and how it had encouraged me. She laughed and said, “I just got this mental image of God waiting 100 years for the perfect moment to tell you about Miss Irby.”

It is a funny picture.

Gabriel: “Are you going to tell him now?”

God: “Wait for it.”

Gabriel: “How about now?”

God: “Wait for it.”

Gabriel: “Come on now, it has been over a century! He could really use some good news.”

God: “Wait for it.”

The day I first decided to move to Croatia in 1999, God knew about Adeline but he did not tell me. When I spent my first summer in Sarajevo in 2003, He knew about Adeline but did not tell me. When we were making the decision to move to Bosnia and Herzegovina, He knew but did not tell me. It was in the moment of my deepest fear and hopelessness that He revealed his secret and let me know that I was heading in the right direction.

I am good at making plans. I do it all the time for our family and for my work. But God is even better at directing my steps. Personally, I believe He is big enough to get me to my destination if I just start heading in the general direction. I don’t have to worry about missing my purpose. God knows my address when the time is right. And, He knows when the time is right.

A Big God means little worry for me.



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