The Joyful Surrender
I've never heard God audibly speak as a voice, but I've heard Him clear as day impress truth on my soul as if He was singing on a loudspeaker. This week that happened in a hard, but much needed wake up call to my selfishness. I felt the Lord so clearly say: You've been building your kingdom and missing out on serving in mine. Stop doing that. Seek my Kingdom first and the rest will work out.
I sang and cried and prayed that my selfishness wouldn't get in the way of the work He's calling me to do. And this week, It Is Well has been on repeat in my heart. Because in patiently waiting to hear Him, the beautiful sound of clarity is the best noise there is - and I know that no matter what happens next, it is well with my sweet and gracious Father.
I've always loved how Beth Moore explains Psalm 139:4 as permission to "tattletale" to God. Essentially she reminds us, God already knows the words of your heart before they've been spoken from your lips. He's not surprised when you say those words, so why would we try and keep them to ourselves? We can “tattletale” about the worries of our heart or the confusion of our situation.
There is a call to reverence and respect before God, absolutely, but honest respectful conversation with the Lord is a healthy practice in strengthening our relationship. I love this reminder, especially in seasons of patience and waiting.
When you find yourself having to practice patience, remember that it's different than just waiting. Anyone can wait. But the patient person has a hope of the future prize that shapes our attitude in the waiting (James 1:2-4). And this hope we have in patience comes only through leaning into Christ.
Patience, like we talked about in our Facebook Live conversation, is Joyful Surrender!
Patience is not waiting like the child in timeout, huffing and puffing as the moments pass by.
Patience is practicing trust, surrendering control, and leaning into God with a joy-filled spirit as we wait for the timing of the Lord.
Patience allows us to say It Is Well. Deep in our soul, no matter the season, we hang our hope on the truth of God’s grace poured out for us.
Patience allows us to say that even when I'm desperately lonely and hurting from the lack of being truly known; even when my husband has forgotten how to love as I desire and we have lost touch; even when my children are wearing me thin; even when life is crumbling, I will wait on the Lord. I will press into Him in the midst of this trial.
It Is Well deep in my soul because I'm hoping in Jesus.
It is not well because life is always great! Horatio Gates Spafford penned the lyrics to It Is Well in the late 1800’s after the tragic loss of all four of his daughters. His wife and four daughters had traveled by boat over the Atlantic Ocean when they were involved in a boat crash. Horatio received the telegram from his wife that simply read: “Saved alone.”
As he later sailed over the same spot where his daughters were killed, he penned the following lyrics:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
When sorrow and sadness inevitably roll in like the waves of the sea; when we face deep and lasting hurt and ongoing sadness through the trials day after day, we could choose to try to control our lives on our own. We could buy a new planner, schedule every moment, fix up our home, reorganize, diet, clean, shop, eat, or any other distracting comfort. We could even think we’re being patient by distracting ourselves while we wait.
The alternative? We can make the Lord our trust and hope as we press on to know Him while we wait. This “long-suffering” he describes in James 5:7-11 is the call we’ve all been given as daughters of God. We’re challenged in 1 Timothy 6:11 to pursue patience, not just expect it to show itself in our lives without any thought or effort.
Patience is a fruit of the Spirit at work in our hearts. Patience is an overflow of the life-giving work that's taking place below the surface.
When it is not well in our situation, it can be well in our hearts because our Lord is near.
Psalm 139:5 reminds us of this promise: “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.” He’s gone before us, He’s behind us, and He knows our thoughts and hearts.
Be honest with Him as you wait. Pray for His strength, His nearness, and His direction. Lean into Him as you “tattletale” all the fears and worries of your heart and life. Trust Him in the waiting.
If your heart is heavy and your future uncertain, you can settle into the confidence that God does not leave, forsake, or forget. His presence strengthens our weary soul at our worst and rejoices the heart at our best. Joyfully surrender in the waiting friend, for patience in the Lord is an invitation to know His faithful character more fully!