Published every Monday
There’s security in control. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I spent most of my life believing that to a fault, and the Lord is still doing work on my heart in this matter. I have a plan for everything, a plan for if that plan fails, and when things don’t work out I find myself frustrated. The Lord often has to gently remind me that He is the Great Author. He is wise and His plans for me are good, and I need to trust in Him. Often in life, we have a choice between trusting in Him or trusting ourselves. We choose ourselves many times because we believe we know what the outcome will be. We feel safe. We think God tends to pull us out of our comfort zones. However, we should strive daily to live a life without comfort zones. If we take comfort and shelter in the Lord, there is no place too far and no call too impossible. The major difference between our plans and God’s are that our plans are generally made subconsciously out of fear. Our Plan A and Plan B are created because we worry about tomorrow, as if our plans could cure our worry. Only faith can drown out fear.God’s plans are, like all else He does, made out of love.
Jesus addressed this often and gently. In the Lord’s prayer, He taught us to first pray for God’s will to be done, and then instructed us to pray for provision for the day – “Give us this day our daily bread…”. He spoke about this in Matthew: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeedyour Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:25-34).
Billy Graham wrote in my favorite book of his, Unto the Hills, “When our hearts are surrendered totally to the will of God, then we delight in seeing Him use us in any way He desires. Our plans and desires begin to agree with His, and we accept His direction in our lives. Our sense of joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment in life increases, no matter what the circumstances, if we are in the center of God’s will…Miss (Amy) Carmichael quoted Prebendary Webb-Peploe as having said, ‘Joy is not gush; Joy is not jolliness. Joy is simply perfect acquiescence in God’s will, because the soul delights itself in God Himself.”
All of the things we try and fail to accomplish in our own flesh under the illusion that we are in full control – a steady peace and a constant joy – are things that are a natural product of surrendering to the Lord and dwelling in His presence all of our days. In Him there is peace, joy, and provision. They are not things you can find separate from Him. I arrived at this conclusion and felt the wind knocked out of me at first – could He be this good that what He needs us to do first and foremost is rest and trust in Him? His yoke is so easy and so light (Matthew 11:30). These gifts are free to us – what a good, good Father we have. Hallelujah!
One of my favorite hymns says, “All to Jesus I surrender / All to Him I freely give / I will ever love and trust Him / In His presence daily live”. These lyrics are a daily prayer I pray. Daily we need to lay down our pride and take up the cross. Daily we need to die to self. Daily we need to surrender to the Lord. I encourage you today to pray this prayer of surrender. There is no greater joy than the joy of a person who dwells within the will of God. There is no greater peace than in His presence. There is no fear where there is great trust and faith in Him.