Do You Believe God?

Oh to write about surrender after battling through a recent test of it! Through this year all my God-lessons have been about surrender, and this month brought a considerable climax for me. I was not surrendering to God certain worldly desires waging war against my soul (1 Peter 2:11). I desired them, but I doubted ever having them. Doubt breeds fear. Fear feeds anti-surrender like nothing else. 

Doubt and Fear. I have always wondered why Eve gave in so easily to the words, “Did God really say?” Eyes opened now–why am I so easily persuaded by them? Why so quick, oh my soul, to doubt His goodness, love, and intimate acquaintance? 

WORLD magazine writer Andree Seu shares,

“God loves me. That is good doctrine, and I subscribe to it. [But] I have subscribed for decades–and been a wreck. What is the problem? The problem is that I have spent very few moments of my life conscious of God loving me.” I don’t always live conscious of that either. Why? Because “we don’t believe that what God wants to give us is better than what we crave.” Ouch. 

That was me. I did not believe that what God wanted to give me could possibly be better than what I craved. I feared He would not satisfy if I surrendered those cravings to Him.

 Let me, however, add another side to this conversation: why is it hard to surrender to God when every time I have done so before He provided abundantly, lovingly, and with amazing personal detail? 

For 7 years my family has lived in rental houses. Moves from each one were forced. We never knew where to go next. Stressful? Yes–until we surrendered to God. Each time God provided not only a house, but one that fit our needs, purposes, and even pleasures. 

Last year I desperately needed/wanted a job. One day I finally released control, “I let go of this, God.” The next day He gave me a job. I work in a place I love being, doing something I love doing. 

Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, writes, “Fullness of joy is discovered only in the emptying of will.” Amen. She knows surrender: “Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love and whisper surprised thanks.” 

I am not teaching a “prosperity gospel.” I am teaching a God who loves you. He is intimately acquainted with all your ways (Psalm 139:3). He holds you by your right hand and guides you with His counsel (Psalm 73:23-24). He richly supplies us with all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). 

But oh that familiar whisper of doubt: “His ‘things to enjoy’ may not be my things to enjoy. What does surrender really have in it for me? Is what You want to give me really better than what I crave? Steph, did God really say…?” In these words, doubt and fear attacked my mind. “The path of life I want makes me feel alive. Surrender won’t give me that. God won’t give me that.” 

Proverbs 20:24 says,

“A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?” Amen! How can I understand my way when God alone sees its end? Surrender looks different for everyone. For me, I doubted if God would lead according to my personality and attractions. I doubted His direction over my walk. All I saw were confusing, vexing steps. All I heard was “walk this way.” 

But here is truth: He knows the great thing He is making of me. He understands His course for me. When He whispers again “walk this way,” will I obey? Will I let go? It is okay to honestly cry out to God, but in the end… 

will I surrender? 

 

One last quote from Andree:

“I can do nothing to direct my path or to ensure my own well-being or prosperity or happiness, because I cannot see around corners; therefore I will obey the Holy Spirit all my life….

To reckon how utterly out of control we are regarding our personal futures is to surrender more contentedly to walking according to the unseen rather than the seen. To see how God blesses even a lackluster obedience is to be emboldened to trust Him more wholeheartedly next time. It is to take up the adventure of a life staked solely on the word of God.” 

Do you believe a life staked on His Word is an adventure? Are you going to walk by the unseen? Will you yield to His Spirit? 

I cannot tell you how to surrender. I will tell you it can feel like dying. God brought me to a point of brokenness before I brought myself to a point of surrender. I can also tell you that though doubt and fear love opposing God’s promises, they bring victory through surrender. Claim them. Stake your life solely on the Word of God–His promises live there. 

I feel victory now because in the darkest part of my surrender battle I scrambled over the Word. I keep a journal–it’s littered with verses and quotes like the ones I shared here. One particular verse-promise God gave me, despite its brevity, caused an intense doubt attack. I will close in sharing its hope with you: 

Psalm 37:34

“Wait for the LORD and keep His way,

And He will exalt you to inherit the land.”

 Trust that His land is better than the one you crave. He dared me to surrender belief to that. I have a mind to take Him up on it.

Stephanie has been serving the past couple of years with Transform Student Ministries as a Boot Camp and Conference Staffer. Stephanie was also, a part of the Intern Program in 2010.

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