by A. Pennington
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Another year has come and gone. I’m twenty one years old, where will be when I turn forty? Only the Lord knows. He is All; I need to make Him my All. This year has been quite the contrary of what I believed it would be. I sit here on January first, reflecting on the past year and I must ask myself, what have I learned? It is inevitable that I answer:
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understand but acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your path.
The heart of a man plans his way but the Lord directs His steps.
This year has been full of ups and downs, twists and turn that I would have never alleged. Proverbs 16:9 explains that for me. God’s word never returns void. I had plans, lots of them and now as I sit here I see that none of them unfolded. Surely there must be a reason, my soul longs to know. Although my soul longs to know that does not mean that my Savior will reveal it to me, right now anyway. If He does choose to do so, it will be in His timing and of course for His glory. This leads me to the reason why I am writing.
Hannah Withall Smith, in Christian Secret to a Happy Life brings up a very valid point for the Christian soul, “What you trust to Him, you must not worry about, trust and worry can not go together.” My year has been full of pain, letting go, moving forward, friends moving, friends having babies, new seasons, ministry changes, laughs, cries, rejoicing, hurt, but most of all-worry. Worry seems to consume by life day in and day out. Of all life dominating sins, worry is what the enemy uses to distract me from what God wants me to see.
Worry is an evident sign that I am not trusting in my God. If I trusted I would not worry. It is not recently that I have noticed I struggle with worry, I first noticed before I even started walking with the Lord. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ has helped my worry problem but I have not been set free from it. The Lord can not set me free if I do not give it to Him to take away. Jesus says, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) If I choose not to go to Him with my burden then I have not done my part in the relationship. Being a Christian, having a relationship with Jesus Christ is a very active bond. God requires us to do our part in the relationship so that He may fulfill His part. Please, do not mistake what I am saying, God can choose to bless us and give us things without us doing anything, this is known as grace. God is grace. But in order for us to grow in His grace He will begin to stretch us, take things out of our lives, put things in our lives that we never infer, He will shake it up a little bit. And when that does happens we must not worry or be frightened because God is refining us into the image of His son. He knows all; we need to make him our All. We must trust Him even when we do not understand why or what or when. He will bless us, He has promised and He is Faithful and True.
The process of being stretched is rough, painful, hard, rigid, challenging, intense, daunting, ultimately it is dieing to the flesh. Dieing to the flesh is not tranquil. It could mean giving up your hearts desire, the thing you so badly want. It could mean moving some where less than desirable, cutting off a friendship, apologizing to someone, mending a severed relationship. It could mean holding back words, not making a phone call or mailing that letter, possibly having something taken away from you. I can not tell you what it is for you, where ever you are in this journey we call life-but if you sense a tug on your heart, do not ignore it my Christian friend. God’s voice is still, small and constant. Pull yourself away from the rest of the world and go be with Him. He longs to hear your voice and prayers. He wants to catch your tears and hold you oh so tightly. He wants you to belong to Him. He desires for you to come be with Him. He wants to be the King of your life and Reign over you, give you the desires of your heart. But dear friend, you must ask yourself, have you given Him your worries, thoughts, desires, any part of you? Or have you shut Him out of certain areas, perhaps all areas? Because you are resentful, stubborn, hard headed, scared that He won’t give you back what you surrender to Him?
There is no ongoing spiritual life with out this process of letting go. At the precise point where we refuse, growth stops. If we hold tightly to anything given to us, unwilling to let go when the time comes to let it go or unwilling to allow it to be used as The Giver means it to be used, we stunt the growth of the soul.
-Elisabeth Elliot (Passion and Purity)
Don’t stop yielding it up to Him because there is pain in the offering. Jesus never promised that there wouldn’t be pain; in fact He lets us know that we will have trials and suffering. But He did promise that He would never leave our side when we are in the dark, feel like we can’t go on another day, there is no human strength. For in our weakness He is made strong (2 Corinthians 12:9). God uses our weakness so that He may be glorified. He wants to break our old man and give us life. Jesus is Life!
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63
It is now the year 2007 and I have no idea what the Lord has intended for the up coming year. I am almost certain that there will continue to be trials, pain and suffering. But I rejoice in the fact that my savior has a purpose. He is not blindly picking and choosing how to hurt me. He has a beautiful purpose, although I do not understand now, one day I will know. I encourage you to take heart for Jesus Christ, the God of the universe desires to have a relationship with you. Do not turn your back if seems to be too hard right now, turn to Him. He will answer. It might not be right when you desire Him to answer, but He will. Wait. Be still. Quiet your heart. Stop worrying. Wait. Trust Him even when you don’t understand.
Wait I say on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, wait I say on the Lord.
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
consumed by His call,
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This is a wonderful article. It thrills me to read such wisdom from a young person. May God richly bless and keep and spiritually prosper you this year, 2007.