“But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.” (1 Samuel 12:24)
God often has to help us get over ourselves. He wants to mold us into HIS image. He needs us to learn to let go. I am in a place of letting go and surrendering to God right now. I am learning to put my faith in Him and to trust Him for my needs. Human nature and our society believe in the “self-help method.” Satan’s ultimate goal is for us to become self idolators without a need for God. The enemy wants us to believe we can achieve our goals and find meaning and purpose using the power within ourselves. Apart from the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, this does us no good. The Bible says human nature is wicked and evil and nothing good ever comes from it. The only way we can truly help ourselves is to give up everything to God. The Bible says, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25) The truth is that we need only to trust in God to guide our next steps. He already has determined our paths in life. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). Sometimes the path ahead may be foggy, but God will help you see the next step right in front of you and then the next and the next until you see a clearing up ahead and suddenly you understand where He is leading you.
I have been on an emotional roller coaster for months. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for a year, but the Lord knows when the timing is right. It’s been hard going through the ups and downs every month, and sometimes I feel devastated. Admittedly, sometimes I have felt relieved too. I have finally decided that I’m not going to worry about it any longer. God knows when the timing is right. He gave me peace a year ago that, yes, I do want children after being on the fence for so long on that issue. And since He gave me the desire, He will help me conceive when it is time. “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) When we make God the center of our lives, He will take care of the circumference.
I am the type of person who enjoys planning out everything to the last detail. I am an event coordinator for a living, so I’m used to making sure nothing is left to the last minute during events at my workplace. I can’t really plan out my personal life. No one really can plan out their lives too much, but military families have special challenges. My husband is in the Navy. Sometimes it feels like the military spins a wheel only to see where it lands or flips a coin to decide your future. The military often relocates you, deploys you or sends you away to training. We are scheduled to move from Boise, Idaho in less than a year. My husband Mark and I have had many conversations about our next military move. He’s been speaking to his detailer who helps him with the relocation process. Each time we get news about anything related to our move, my head starts spinning with a million thoughts and scenarios about our future. I tend to dwell on the “what ifs.” “Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” (Luke 12:22-26) God wants us to live in the present and trust in Him to take care of our future. It is a complete waste of time to be anxious, worrying and fretting about things that haven’t even happened yet! God wants us to enjoy the present, and He can’t use us for ministry and for furthering the kingdom if we are too busy with our own thoughts. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3) I also must remember that ultimately God decides our next move, not the military–even though they are the ones who send us orders.
I have peace now. It’s taken pretty much all year for me to get to this place. It’s a lot better here. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (1 John 14:10). We can never find peace in this world because this world is not our home. It’s a temporary dwelling place until we go to our real home in heaven. If you try to follow the ways of the world, you will be left empty, confused and broken. You will continually search for something or someone to fill the void in your life that can only be filled with Jesus. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1) We can only find peace with God and we will wrestle with our own flesh until we do. We give in to our flesh when we try to pilot our lives. God doesn’t want us to be the pilot or the co-pilot. We are supposed to take the back seat and rest knowing He will take us to our next destination.
We can do nothing in our own strength, and when we try we will fail. Paul says, “For I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13) Paul had a hard yet amazing life and ministry because He knew God would take care of him. He trusted God even after he was shipwrecked, beaten, imprisoned, stoned, left for dead, and afflicted with a “thorn in his flesh,” among many other torments. God always gave Paul the strength to carry on. Even when a situation seems hopeless to mere man, God always has a plan – and He has a unique plan for each of our lives too! We need to remember to submit to His plan instead of doing things our own way. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7.) Satan will worm his way into our lives and mess with our heads, hearts and decisions when we are trying to do something our way. This is disobedience, and it also shows a lack of trust and faith in God. We need to be in a place of submission to the authority of God.
We must put our trust in God even when the puzzle pieces of our lives don’t seem to fit together and create the picture we had in mind. Sometimes the world will tell us the exact opposite of what God is telling us to do. People might think you’re crazy for following God’s plan if it leads to a loss of income, lifestyle or property. Our God is greater and mightier than the world, and His plans are bigger than anything we can ever carve out for ourselves. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) This requires letting go of our ideas and dreams and letting God reshape them into His perfect will and plan for our lives.
We must have faith in God that He will take care of us, even when we have no clue what comes next in life. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) I think as Christians we are often reminded of this scripture because it is so contrary to human nature to have faith in the unknown, especially if it involves uncomfortable changes in our way of living. These changes may be important, however uncomfortable, to our spiritual development. The Bible proves God’s faithfulness to the children of Israel over and over again in the Old Testament. “For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” (Psalm 33:4) The Lord is faithful to fulfill His promises, and if He has been faithful to His people for many generations, it is surely not too much to ask us to faithfully give our lives over to Him. David prayed, “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11) This should be our prayer too when we find it difficult to understand why things happen the way they do.
Don’t let anxieties, fears and worry plague your life and rob you of the joy God wants you to experience. God is intimately aware of every detail in our lives, and He knows what is good for us. He created us, and He knows us even better than we know ourselves! He loved us enough to send Jesus Christ to die on our behalf, and He loves us today no matter what paths life has taken us down. “And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’” Mark 14:35-36. Imagine what the world would be like today if Jesus had not surrendered to God’s will for His life! Nothing can separate us from the love of God if we are His children. He wants nothing more than than to give you the very best He has to offer. Will you surrender all and rest in His peace and blessings knowing He wants to give you a bright and glorious future?
As the words of the beautiful old hym says, “All to Jesus, I surrender; All to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live. I surrender all, I surrender all, All to Thee, my blessèd Savior, I surrender all.” Let the words of this song ring true in our lives when life doesn’t seem to make sense or the path ahead is unclear.
Pray this prayer: “Jesus, I thank you that you surrendered your life for all of mankind. Let your sacrifice be a reminder to each one of us as that we are called to give our lives in service to you. Please help me daily to submit to your will and trust in you that you will take care of my needs. Give me faith to let go and to let you take over. Thank you for all of my blessings and provisions. They serve as a good reminder of your faithfulness to fulfill your promises for all of God’s children, including me. Lord may you guide me, direct my paths and give me rest and peace as travel on my journey. Amen.”