“Well Mom, I’ve stopped trying to figure it all out.”
One of the things I enjoy most these days is taking a walk and talking with our Heavenly Father. There always seems to be some great wisdom imparted in our time together. This morning was yet another one of those times. Looking at today’s picture, it’s likely difficult to discern; however, it was at a point in my walk that the path was very difficult to discern. Unlike other places along the journey where I could see a clear trail ahead for some distance, this particular section required that I take it step by step. This brought to mind several parallels in my own personal faith journey.
What immediately came to mind was the conversation we had with Chris Jr. last night. For those who don’t know, he’s in his 9th of 10 weeks on a mission trip in Orlando this summer which has been absolutely fantastic. Talking over the phone last night, Lisa asked Chris his thoughts on future plans and his response was something pretty profound. While I won’t be able to quote him verbatim, it was something like the following.
“Well Mom, I’ve stopped trying to figure it all out. What I’ve discovered is that every time I attempt to take control, it never turns out the way I expected. What I’m starting to learn is that I have a lot more peace when I don’t try to control things and simple trust God’s plan. For now what I know is I am suppose to be in Orlando and returning to Purdue.”
Wow, did you catch that? He’s learning the secret of contentment in all circumstances and truly trusting that God will lead him in His timing knowing God’s plans are far better than any plans Chris could every dream. Or, looking at it in the prospective of today’s photo, Chris is simply becoming comfortable not needing to see the trail ahead and only focusing on taking “the next step”.
Multiple times throughout the summer, Chris and ourselves have had conversations about “control” versus “trusting God”. While many likely wouldn’t consider themselves having “control” issues, the reality is that we all have major control issues. Specifically, as Christians, we hear God’s promises “to lead us and never forsake us” and to “not worry about tomorrow”; however, most can’t “rest” in these assurances. In His way unique way to our own personal journey, we’ve likely had moments where, like the Israelites, God’s parted the Red Sea only to see us doubting and complaining a few days later. We want to “trust God”; yet, simply resist “fully surrendering” and fall into the temptation of “needing to know” or “controlling” what’s next.
Candidly, likely a topic for another day, however, I’m starting to believe that man won’t completely “surrender” until he pass through a period of extreme “brokenness”. Time and time again, I’m seeing stories of how God is using man’s extreme “suffering” and trials “in the desert” to rather forcibly get his children to “let go” and “let God”. In the case of Chris Jr. and myself, we both had to have our identities stripped away prior to relinquishing control. And, it hasn’t been a one time event nor have we completely arrived. It’s tough work dying to yourself! So tough, most will never be up for the challenge without God’s intervening.
So, like on my walk today, over our lifetime, I anticipate variations of uncertainty about the trail ahead. What my son, others, and I are learning in the journey is that we must learn to be content simply knowing where to take “the next step”. Even when we seem to have a clear trail ahead, God is desiring our hearts and our being comfortable with taking only “the next step”. As we grow closer to this level of “losing control”, “fully surrendering”, and “trusting Him”, history continues to support that great things are in store. As A.W. Tozer once said, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”
So what do you say? Isn’t it about time you truly believed what He’s been impressing upon your heart? If we can help, don’t hesitate to reach out!