First, realize that God is absolutely Sovereign over all of your life’s circumstances…both good and bad. Psalm 103:19 says “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” (NASB) The theological term for His sovereignty over our life’s affairs is Divine Providence. This means that whatever life throws at us has to come through the omnipotent knowledge and permission of God; and the course and direction of our life is ultimately determined by the Lord.
This is practically illustrated in the following verses:
Proverbs 16:9 The mind of man plans His way, but the Lord directs his steps. This verse shows us that we are part of the process, but that in the midst of our thinking, planning, strategizing and praying, God is the ultimate determiner.
Proverbs 20:24 Man’s steps are ordained by the Lord, how then can man understand his way. We never know nor understand where our steps will lead because the Lord has ordained (planned and purposed) them, and they are beyond our foreknowledge; but not His.
Jeremiah 10:23 I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. This verse show us the futility of thinking that we are ever in total control of our life and its destiny. The unseen providence of God is taking us where we would never have imagined or chosen had we known all that was before us.
Psalm 37:23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in His way. Here we see that the Lord delights (takes pleasure) in the way He has established (planned, purposed, and carried out) for us. His ultimate goal for us is to be completely conformed to the image of His Son in preparation for eternity. His plan for us is not a plan for this world only, but, actually uses this world to prepare us for the eternal world to come, and our final and complete conformity to the likeness of Christ, who, as the God-man, is the complete man. (Philippians 1:6, 2:13, Colossians 1:28, Ephesians 4:11-15, I John 3:2, Romans 8:29)
Romans 8:28 For we know that God cause all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. This is because God’s plan for us is for our eternal good. Our time here is short, and even though we are preoccupied with it, God is preoccupied with our place in eternity.
Secondly, what should our response be?
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. In our circumstances we must have confidence in the Lord, His leading and its outcome, and not lean on (depend fully) on our own understanding. In each and every situation of our life we are to have a reverential regard and respect for God as being God, so that we acquiesce to His leading, so that we let Him lead us and are not seeking our own way.
Psalm 37:3-5 Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He will do it. This section begins and ends with trusting the Lord; and this trusting is accompanied by doing good (being godly in our circumstances), dwelling in the land (staying where He has brought us and not trying to seek our own way of escape), cultivating faithfulness (building our faithfulness to Him by being obedient to Him in our circumstances), delighting ourselves in Him (this is a by-product of the joy that comes from our faithfulness and trusting), committing our way to Him (in all our way acknowledging Him…Lord I am going to follow you no matter what).
Finally, a biblical example.
Read Genesis 12 and consider the call of God to Abraham. God called, Abraham followed, and God led him right into the middle of a famine. Was the Lord surprised?…NO! He knew where He was leading and what would be there, but God had a purpose, a greater and eternal purpose for Abraham; and through all of this He taught Abraham to trust Him, to be faithful to Him; and as a result, Abraham became the father of faith for all who would come to Christ thereafter.
Remember, in God's economy there are no accidents or happenstances. Whatever comes your way has been Divinely ordained for your good, your ultimate and eternal good, and for the glory of the One who has called you to Himself and blessed you with an eternal salvation that transcends your short time here on this earth. All that transpires is part of His eternal plan for you…even to your children. Thank Him for His eternal plan and its working out in both good and hard providence. For His eye is on you, His thoughts toward you are as numerous as His wonders, and what He began in You He will complete for all eternity. Bless His holy name!