As God refines us and prunes us to be more fruitful as John 15 describes, He often allows us to tread waters we were never meant to tread on our own. He lets us face seemingly overwhelming circumstances as He filters through the motivations of our hearts and tests our genuineness. It is in this place where we are met with the challenge of pursuing God even when it makes more sense to us to go our own way, as we can be blinded to the beauty of what God has in store.
Though God might make it extremely clear to me which way I should go, I will never be forced to follow God’s way. It’s a choice flowing from His plan of free will for our lives. But the way we choose to go will determine what kind of life we live and what kind of relationship we have with our God.
But if I’m honest, I wrestle with this choice in the moments where I’m tempted to consider my plans over the sovereignty of God.
I don’t like it when I take time to plan something in detail and then it all ends up completely different. I don’t like it when I can’t be in total control of my surroundings. I don’t like it when my path is not clear. My plans become seemingly wasted. And what I thought would and should happen just falls apart. If I’m not careful to align my thoughts with scripture, I can get incredibly anxious and worrisome. I get doubtful with God and go back and forth with Him about how I don’t understand why everything I thought would happen just isn’t happening.
But I’m having to learn how to be flexible in the Potter’s hands as it says in Isaiah 64:8, letting Him shape my plans to fit His design and purpose not mine. I’m having to learn how to ask God for help in considering the way I should go, instead of just going on my own. I’m learning to let go of what I want, so I can be open to what He wants instead.
In this process of refining, God is showing me that any moment of temptation to go my own way is rooted in much more than my need to be able to plan and anticipate. My moments of doubt and mistrust are rooted in my misperceptions of God.
When I considered this, I thought, surely God I know you, don’t I? Surely I don’t have any misperceptions of You? I study You’re word, how can I have a wrong view of You?
But God started excavating my heart, revealing to me every moment where I have misinterpreted God in my mind:
If I view God as One who wants to control rather than protect, I will never draw near to Him. I will resist Him.
If I view God as One who wants to misdirect me rather than lead me, I will never submit to Him. I will be suspicious of Him.
If I view God as One who wants to punish me rather than love me, I will never open my heart to Him. I will remain distant from Him.
If I view God as One who wants to rob me rather than bless me, I will never trust Him. I will doubt Him.
If I view God as One who wants me to suffer more than He wants me to enjoy life, I will never experience Him. I will only experience the God I think I’ve figured out.
If I view God as One who is not as desirable as other things, I will never experience His satisfying love. I will miss out on the best thing in the universe.
All these misperceptions of God will stain our intimacy with Him! And all of these misperceptions could not be further from the truth of who our God really is:
For God is the protector of the weak, who watches over His beloved.
“I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” – Psalm 16:8
“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” – 2 Thess 3:3
For God is the trustworthy leader, who guides His own as a loving Father.
“God will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye.” – Psalm 32:8
“The Spirit of truth has come and He is guiding me into all truth. He will tell me things to come.” – John 16:13
For God can’t help Himself but to love His beloved and has never desired to punish us.
“Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love.
He will delight in you with shouts of joy.”– Zephaniah 3:17
“For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” – John 3:17
For God is the blessing Himself.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” – Luke 12:32
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” – Matthew 13:44
For God takes pleasure in our enjoyment of life and isn’t allowing suffering out of spite, but out of care and nurturing.
“With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” – Psalm 91:16
“I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” –John 10:10
“Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little.” – 1 Peter 5:10
For God is the best thing that exists.
“But I will see Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence.” – Psalm 17:15
“Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” – Psalm 63:3
“Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created.” – Revelation 4:11
As I get to know God better, I’m finding that His way is always the best way.
And because His way is best, I don’t have to be upset when my plans fall apart. For my plans are lesser when compared to His greatness.
I should rather be totally overjoyed that anything I try to accomplish is outdone by my God who loves me and wants greater things for me than I want for myself.
I don’t know about you, but I need this truth of who God is on repeat in my mind reminding me of what’s true. I don’t have to worry about all the negativity. I don’t have to fixate on everything that I think is wrong either. That’s not the point. I just need to meditate on His truth reminding me of who He is…and He is rewiring me to think a different way.
To consider problems as ingredients for God’s miracles. To see darkness as an opportunity for the Lord to shine His glory. To recognize confusing moments as moments of God working on my behalf in ways unknown. To find delight in my skewed plans. To think of God as truly the Lord of all and over all.
He’s teaching me about who He is. That’s what He’s doing. Before when I started to consider this issue of God’s way versus my way, I thought He just wanted to teach me something concerning my spirituality or wanted to rid my heart of impurities, and sure He is doing both of these things…but these things were never God’s main goal in my heart…they were byproducts.
The main goal of God is for me to know Him.
To truly know Him. Who He is and how he operates. And this comforts my soul, to know that God just ultimately wants to be known by me and wants to let me know that I am known by Him. This is a kind of intimacy that fuels a faith of love with the Lord. And I so desperately want that. I beg God to bring me to that place… Where I start to notice God’s attributes and character as reflected in the way He moves in my life, rather than looking at my life and then pleading with God to do something about it, missing the beauty of who He actually is.
My Lord is so much more than anything I ever thought. He will always be more and I will never have Him figured out. And this brings rest and peace, because there have been times when I have expected God to act in a certain way and then we He didn’t I was so confused. But I see now that God’s essence is so unfathomable that I am so unfitting to try and understand His ways.
Isaiah 55:8-9 says this,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
He will always be so much more than I expect.
I am confident that He is worth more, deserving of more, and due every part of me that I try to hold back from Him. He is worth my complete devotion. And ultimately, my trust.
Now He’s asking me to relinquish the things that I’m holding on to so tightly with closed fists. I fear that if I let certain things go, I will never get it back and that I will miss out on something great. And in that conclusion I’ve really missed the point. For as I revisit the attributes above that I know are true about God, I know that God Himself is worth far more than anything I would every try to hold on to. I have no reason to fear. I have no reason to doubt God’s heart for me or His love for me. And I so desperately want to please God. I want Him to love me. I need Him to love me.
So as I come to Him with my closed fists, I ask Him to help me let go of what I’m holding on to…because I have a hard time letting go on my own. And He gently opens my hands and asks me, will you trust me? Will you let me remove these counterfeit things so that I can fill you heart with real joy and real love? I say, yes God, I want to, please show me how and help me to lay it down before You.
As agonizing as it is, I find that I have to do this over and over every single day.
Actually, it’s more like over and over throughout the day. I thought surrendering to God and letting go of these desires of my heart would be a one-time deal. That after I got over the monumental decision to let go that I wouldn’t struggle with it anymore. But that hasn’t been a reality for me.
I have to bring my heart back to God every single moment that I am tempted to doubt His request to give Him all of me. I have to ask Him to reaffirm to me that I have done the right thing. I have to ask Him to renew my joy. I have to ask Him to let me know that He really does have a plan and that He’s not just putting me through this for nothing. I have to plead with Him to give me peace.
Then He does. And I know that He is with me.
Though this persists as a tumultuous, continual cycle of struggling… surrendering… and seeking after Him, I’ve never felt more loved and cared for by God than I do right now.
I sense His nearness to me in a way I’ve never felt as strongly and I know that I just need Him so much. I can’t get through the day without Him. This feeling is not something I want to give up.
He’s teaching me to default into trusting Him rather than trusting in my own plans. Through this journey I’m starting to see Him as One who is far more desirable than everything else that I desire. And though it’s still a struggle for me at times, it’s becoming easier to choose God’s way over my way. His plan over mine. His request over mine. I’m getting to know Him and He is so worth it.
I’m so thankful for how the Lord works in the hearts of his beloved, drawing us to Himself in a way that satisfies us, even despite our doubt and wavering trust. He is still faithful. Even when we’re not. For He never changes. What a comfort.
I pray that you would be filled with the peace of God, knowing that He cares about you far more than you could ever imagine. I pray that you would be led by the Holy Spirit in whatever situation you are facing, experiencing life with our God in a way that surpasses every other thing pining for your attention. I pray that you would be ever aware of Christ’s nearness to you. And I pray that we all would choose God’s way over our own and that in the moments where we struggle to let go of what we hold on to, that the Lord would reveal Himself as so glorious and beautiful in our hearts that we would trust Him no matter what. May we truly get to know Him and learn how to walk with Him in faith.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
– Proverbs 3:5-6
Questions for Today:
- What is keeping me from choosing God’s way?
- Do I struggle to believe that God wants better things for me than I want for myself?
- Why is it significant to have an accurate view of God?
- What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?
“Anchor” by Bethel Worship ft Leah Valenzuela