Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Figuring Out God's Will

By Kristen Leigh Evensen
If the Lord spoke to you right now, what would He say?
The Lord would say to me, “Stop striving, Kristen, and trust me.”

You see, I am a perfectionist. Having all my ducks in a row pleases me. Once, after being asked to describe my personality in one word, my sister replied, “Problem-solver.” I am analytical at my best, a worry-wart at my worst.

Now, put my Type-A, need-to-know, neat 'n tidy personality together with the sovereignty of our God. Who alone knows the days ahead. Who planned out every event in my life before time began. Who orchestrates timing for His purposes.

The result can be volatile.

Not for the Father, of course, but for me. The reality that my life is not in my own hands (and never will be) threatens my own desire to control it. Attempting to figure out the details begins with good intentions…but leads to frustration. I imagined the other day that all my thoughts were threads. And there I was trying to frantically, feebly weave them into some sort of tapestry of understanding.

The potential tapestry looked more like an ocean of swirling colors. No pattern. No conclusion. No problem solved. Just loose threads biding their time and awaiting God's perfect purposes.

As I lay there, driving myself crazy worrying about each thought, the simple truth hit me: I was entrusting to myself—to my limited, foolish understanding--what should only be entrusted to God in all His magnificent wisdom (1 Corinthians 3:18-19). 

In that moment, I sensed He would say, “Stop striving, Kristen, and trust me.” And I immediately felt a freedom that can only come from being in the Lord’s will. His promise of peace is fulfilled when we trust Him always, at all times, and in all things (Isaiah 26:3).

There is so much freedom there, friends! Just consider it: We no longer need to problem-solve, fashion our tapestries, or become the wisdom of God…because God is the only one who can do all of this. Not only that, but we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Proverbs 16:20 says, “Whoever gives thought to a matter will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” I think this verse tells us two truths about ourselves, when it comes to trusting God. 

First, it clearly says that giving thought to a matter is good. Just because we trust the Lord does not mean that we neglect prayerful understanding and discernment. It is good to consider the state of our hearts, our thoughts and attitudes, and the circumstances surrounding them (Psalm 139:23). The Lord has given us active participation in the working out of His will for our lives. How this all works together, I know not. But the Word is clear that God wants to use His children as humble, obedient vessels to ultimately glorify Himself (1 Thessalonians 4:1-3).

The problem is when part two of Proverbs 16:20 is neglected: “blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” I reach this point often, when giving thought to a matter quickly evolves into taking that matter into my own hands. I lose sight of Jesus Christ, whom I am called to fix my eyes upon (Hebrews 12:2). I begin letting worldly troubles fill my thoughts instead of the things of heaven . And before I know it, the worry-wart in me is unleashed and I am filled with fear.

Fear is the opposite of trust. It is the opposite of God’s perfect love, which promises us that His eternal purposes will come to pass. When fear takes over our minds and hearts, it is a clear indication that we have moved from “giving thought to a matter” to obsessing over it. So what’s a girl to do?

The second truth from the verse remedies our obsessive impulses by directing how we weigh our thoughts. Yes, giving thought to a matter is good—but only in the context that we are ultimately trusting God with that matter.

Not only that, but the Scripture calls us “blessed” when we trust in the Lord! There are spiritual benefits to letting go and allowing God His rightful place to sovereignty and control. One of those blessings is the freedom I mentioned earlier. What freedom and peace to realize that we need not weave our own tapestries and solve every problem! That, my sisters, is true spiritual blessing in Christ.

What are you striving to understand today? As you give thought to a matter, may you be blessed by trusting God with all outcomes and measures of understanding. Only He can gracefully handle such wisdom and form every thread into a beautiful tapestry, for the glory of His name. So let’s cease striving and be blessed by trusting Him.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).

Father God in heaven, May Your kingdom come and Your will be done. Fix our eyes on Jesus, that we may know the fruit of trusting You. All of Your promises are faithful. Your character is steadfast. And so we choose to trust You today, in all of Your wisdom and understanding.

Amen.

Do you ever struggle with trusting God and His will? 

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