Faithful Is Successful: Learn to Discern (Scholar’s Compass)

“One does well to listen to the “quiet, still voice” of one’s conscience in daily decisions. When something does not feel right, it usually is not.” ~ Soo Chuen Tan, “Investing As a Calling,” Faithful Is Successful (2014)


Soo Chuen Tan seems to have found what many have spent years seeking . . . not wealth nor earthly wisdom, but peace in the will of God. It has taken me a couple of decades to get to this place. I left a highly secure job as a high school teacher in a beautiful suburban setting, teaching subjects that I loved most to share. Life was ideal and my income was strong. Yet, God had other plans. Within five years, my husband and I had four children and in the sixth year my mother had a paralyzing stroke the month before my husband was to start graduate school. I had decided that it was time for me to resign and to focus my commitments on my family.

I had spent years thinking about what type of job I would like best to do, the home I would have, the family I would raise and about the places around the world we would visit. Each well-intentioned thought had become a dream—a pipe dream of sorts. My world revolved around diapers, nurses and an occasional late night conversation with my husband about the agenda for the next day. Some days there seemed to be no end, nor light to my tunnel. It was in this dark place that I had to learn to fully rely on God.

My mother reminded me of Romans 8:28 that states, “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” This verse of scripture took on new meaning for me. What did God mean by all? Did God really mean all? Was this the same all as in rejoicing in all times? It couldn’t be! I had to ask the Lord to show me how he takes all things and makes them new. This became my prayer. I loved my husband, my children and my mom, but at times this all seemed a bit much to bear.

God’s resounding response to me was Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” All the sudden my thoughts of who I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing took a back seat to what God was calling me to. Everything I thought I was missing no longer felt right anymore. God was making all things new in me.

Today, I am grateful for that ten-year wilderness experience. It allowed me an opportunity to consider all that God had planned for me. Despite a loss in income during those years, all of our needs were meet. My husband eventually finished graduate school. That same year my mother passed away and my youngest entered into elementary school. It was a very bitter-sweet time, but I knew that it was as God knew it would be. I was now ready to return to teaching, but God had other plans. I clearly hear the Lord tell me to prepare for graduate school. I immediately registered to take graduate exams that week. The Lord opened the doors for me in such a way that two months following my decision, I was admitted into a program and now three years later I am embarking on my dissertation. To God be the Glory who makes all things new!


  1. How do you respond when God wants to take control of your life?
  2. Have you truly given God your all?


Lord, help me to trust you in all that I do. Teach me to be still and know that you are at work in my life. May I choose to be obedient to Proverbs 3:5-6 and Trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct my paths.

Further Reading

Tan, Soo Chuen. “Investing As a Calling.” Faithful is Successful: Notes to the Driven Pilgrim. Nathan Grills, David E. Lewis, and S. Joshua Swamidass, eds. Denver, Colorado: Outskirts Press, 2014. 166-177.

Scholars Compass imageNote: Part of both the Scholar’s Compass series and the Faithful is Successful series on the Emerging Scholars Network Blog. Help ESN Create a Devotional for Scholars.

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Chelsea Foster

Chelsea Foster is an HR educational consultant with a background in teaching ESL, English, Spanish and History. She is currently a doctoral candidate studying in the Department of Organizational Leadership at Eastern University. Her focus is on the study of language as a leadership skill and the development of mission minded leaders. Chelsea lives with her husband, Charles, and their four young children, Charity, Chloe, Joshua and Christian, in Dresher, Pennsylvania. The Fosters attend church at Montco Bible Fellowship in Lansdale, PA.

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