“The good life is the life that’s been laid down” – Trip Lee
She stood on the edge of the diving board, her posture straight, arms poised, gaze staring intently ahead in deep concentration. She had practiced diving so many times before, but yet this one was much more different, more challenging. Yet she knew her only focus should be on jumping off of that board. With a deep breath, she jumps headfirst, arms held out straight in front of her as she dives into the cool blue water below.
Like that diver, we all experience circumstances in our lives that are challenging, and as believers we are called to step out in faith, fully trusting in God. However, many people (myself included) are in a constant tug-of-war with God, wanting to be in control of the situation. We hold on desperately until we wear ourselves out and become weary. Yet this isn’t the way it should be.
We say that we are devoted to God, but our hearts are saying we don’t trust Him. Our human nature would rather trust our way of thinking, though it is flawed. We go along according to our limited, temporal view of circumstances, instead of considering the spiritual, eternal perspective. Friends, let me say that God has a perfect plan for our lives. But how can we get to that place of belief until we surrender our hearts, dreams, and talents, to Him. Surely He knows what we need!
God is calling us to step out of our comfort zones and trust Him. Though it is not easy, it puts us in a place of intimacy with Him and matures us spiritually. A surrendered heart to God is one that yields to His perfect timing and plans. It is only when we release our tight grip on our circumstances that change can begin to take place. Many people are holding onto to burdens and are in bondage because of a refusal to give it to God. Jesus’ desire is that His children are free from those things. We certainly can’t afford to be complaining about all the problems in our lives if we are unwilling for God to change it. Jesus is like no other human. Someone may have hurt you deeply, but that will never be the case with Him. He cares for you and adores you. You can trust Him. Truth is, you won’t experience the fullness of God until you surrender EVERYTHING to Him.
Also, like the diver at the beginning of this post, we need to step out with our arms outstretched, ready to receive all that God has for us. Don’t focus on what can or can’t go wrong, focus on God! Take for instance a nurse, who is giving a scared patient a shot. She strikes up a conversation to distract them and before you know it, the shot is administered, and the patient didn’t even know it. That is God’s desire for us, to be so focused on Him while He is healing our hurts. Or take for instance when Peter was walking on the water. He had faith and knew that it was possible with God and as long as He kept His eyes on Jesus, He would never sink. There is such beauty in trust.
There are a few things that we must remember when we are wavering in trust and faith. As I sit at this computer writing this, grieved with conviction, and fresh tears pooling in my eyes, I want to encourage you of these things:
1.1. God has a perfect plan for our lives
Think Jeremiah 29:11 “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. His ways are truly not like our ways, and He knows what we need more than we do. This is a precious promise we can hold on to!
2.2. God wants us to be conformed into the image of Jesus
Romans 12:2 tells us “do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” We are no longer to uphold the standards of this world. God desires our hearts to look like His, and to embody the fruits of the spirit, which include peace and patience. Trusting in Him gives us a peace like no other, because we no longer have a hold on things, and also helps us to be more patient (especially when things don’t seem to be going our way).
3. Our emotions are deceiving
There, I said it. Too often we are told to follow our hearts, but the heart is deceitful above all other things. Our emotions are not always an indicator of reality. I know, as women, we always get stereotyped by being emotional creatures and while there is truth in that, we need to submit those feelings to Christ.Obedience may not feel right, but it is right. Act and let your emotions catch up.
4. God will birth beauty from our pain
That is a promise. It’s so easy to get discouraged when we are undergoing struggles, but God has promised to give us beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61: 3). Even more, He has promised to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). We can take God at His word, knowing that He will do as He said. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Think on the times where He has come through for you! (Psalm 105:5).
I urge you, put your trust in Him. Surrender your hearts to Him.As the old hymn goes, “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus”. It is sweet indeed.