I used to give God advice on how to run my life (from time to time I probably still do). But I’ve learnt a blank page in God’s hand is far more powerful than a full notebook in mine. And He can do so much more with one life fully laid down, than a thousand others trying to tell Him what to do with theirs.
I love the way A.W. Tozer puts it, ‘”The essence of surrender is getting out of God’s way so that He can do in us what He also wants to do through us.”
Matthew 10:39 (TPT) declares, “Those who cling to their lives will give up true life. But those who let go of their lives for my sake and surrender it all to me will discover true life!”
I think one of the greatest challenges I face regularly is allowing God to actually tell me what to do, instead of the other way around.
I know so often I struggle with taking back the reins, especially when God’s timing doesn’t quite suit mine. Which, come to think of it, is pretty regularly. But God does not live according to my calendar. He is God and moves at His own pace.
He’s never in a rush and He’s never a minute late. And the truth is, His timing (and His intention) for my life is actually far better than mine.
I regularly need to remind myself that God has not forgotten about His promises, and He hasn’t taken me this far to leave me now. Psalm 145:13 (TPT) puts it like this, “You are faithful to fulfill every promise you’ve made. You manifest yourself as kindness in all you do.”
I recently shared a story of our 8-year-old daughter Liberty and her desire for a cat. On several occasions she would slip something like this into her prayers, “And thank you God that you are giving me a cat. I’d like one that is fluffy… and orange… but if you can’t do orange then black is OK.” Her persistence eventually paid off.
One night my husband and I just looked at each other and laughingly said, “So, when are we getting this cat?” I pulled out my laptop and began googling eagerly: “Best places to buy a cat in Perth? Best breeds for kids? Things I need to know as a new cat owner?”… etc.
Half way through my frantic search of a cute, and affordable, cat I felt the Lord gently whisper to me, “Sabrina, what do you think I do every time I make you a promise? I start working on it. You may not be able to see it, but in exactly the same way you’re pulling things together for your daughter, I’m doing even more behind-the-scenes on your behalf.” Yeah, wow, revelation moment.
Even now, thinking back to that story, I am reminded of the words penned in the song “Way Maker”:
“Even when I don’t see it, you’re working. Even when I can’t feel it, you’re working. You never stop. You never stop working.”
Bishop T.D. Jakes encapsulates this message so powerfully in his book Crushing:
“We think we know what’s best and what will be the most productive use of our time and resources, but the truth is that only the Master Vintner knows the perfect time in our lives for His work to be done. God doesn’t expect you to wrap your head around how you should grow. He only expects your trust as you seemingly stumble your way through the process, because growth is riddled with constant change and correction.”
Listen friend, God’s delay is not God’s denial. Just because He says, not now, doesn’t mean, not ever.
Oftentimes what God does in the waiting is far more meaningful than you think. He is shaping you, moulding you, preparing you for glorious things. More significantly, He is transforming you into His likeness and carving away the false self.
God is often so much more concerned with who we are becoming, than what we are achieving.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT) gently reminds us of that, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
Sometimes your plan Z, is actually God’s plan A. Sometimes what seems like a detour can actually be His divine direction. Sometimes a closed door is for your benefit, not detriment. But He’s always good, always faithful and always worth trusting.
Pastor Mark Varughese encapsulates it so well when he explains, “My confidence is not in knowing exactly where I’m going. My confidence is in who I am following. Because who I am following knows exactly where they’re going.” I love that! I don’t need to know how to get there, I just need to keep following Him and keep saying yes, every day.
Just look at the impact Jesus had by saying yes to the cross (Luke 22:42). He didn’t want to, and He didn’t have to. He chose to say yes to the Father when none of it made sense. What looked like defeat was actually a set-up for victory.
“No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” John 10:18 (NLT)
Again, and again His desire is for us to give up our agendas, in order to fulfil His purposes.
Because our yield (fruitfulness) will always be in our yield (surrender). So, friend, stop telling God your plans and just hand Him the pen.
Article supplied with thanks to Sabrina Peters.
About the Author: Sabrina is a writer, pastor and relationships blogger. She is passionate about Jesus and changing the way people think about God and sex.