God is Working, Even if You Don’t Know It.
Josh and I had the privilege of visiting two Bellevue Life Groups on March 4th, 2018. Josh shared our heart, our call and the mission God has set before us. While he was speaking, he shared a small portion of how I heard God’s call. I have always said that I first heard God call me to international missions on my trip to Haiti, however the journal entry below made me realize God was working in me before I even knew it. I wrote this journal entry two days before I left for that trip to Haiti. I had been journaling quite a bit prior to the trip. For some reason I didn’t remember how much I spiritually prepared for that trip to Haiti. Looking back on those journal entries, I realized God was doing an incredible work in my heart without my realization. He was teaching me what surrender meant, exactly when I would need it the most. What a faithful God we serve! He prepares us for each step we will encounter and gives us the grace to face each challenge emboldened with his Holy Spirit. Below is that journal entry that I wrote on March 9th, 2012, mere days before first hearing God call me to a life-altering surrender.
Surrender is an interesting word. Surrender often has a negative meaning because we picture a man holding up his white flag in a war and giving up. We associate “giving up” with weakness. But surrendering does not always mean you are weak. In fact, when you are surrendering to God, I believe it means you are strong. Another way to say surrender is “give in” or “give up control”. Giving in and giving up control to God is the greatest thing a Christian can do.
I used to have my plan for my life and I knew exactly how my life was going to happen. But one day, almost a year ago, the Lord told me that I was not giving him total control of my life like I said I would when I asked him to save me nine years earlier. He told me that he wanted me to spend my life doing full-time ministry. The career I had dreamed of my entire life was very different than full-time Christian service. I really fought with God for about two weeks, but I finally surrendered and said, “Lord, whatever you want me to do, I will do.”
Surrendering to God was the best decision I have ever made. In Matthew chapter 4 Jesus calls Peter and Andrew to follow him. Peter and Andrew were out fishing, because that is how they made their living. Don’t you think it would have been really easy to just say, “We are busy living life our way right now and we don’t really want to give up our comfortable lives so, no.” But that’s not what they did at all! Matthew 4:20 says, “At once, they left their nets and followed him.” I pray that is how I respond every time the Lord calls me to follow him.
An important thing the Lord has taught me about surrender is that surrendering is something I have to do everyday! Each morning I have to die to myself. What that means is that I have to get rid of all the things I deem important and all my fleshy desires and focus on God and his glory! People can’t see God in me if I am in the way. I believe surrender is the most important thing a Christian can learn. If we do not live lives in complete surrender to God, he will not use us to bring glory to his name. I pray that each one of us will wake up every morning and says, “Lord, I surrender all!”