guest posts, I am called to Surrender

His Will or Mine? A Guest Post by Jeannie Fulbright

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. ~Ephesians 3:20

My fifth baby wasn’t human. The first four had arms and legs. Number five? Let’s just say he was more than the world to me; he was the whole Universe. He was a book. An Astronomy book.

I self-published for exactly a year and sold 200 copies. Because I’m a writer, not a business person, I lost money. I couldn’t print any more books. Time to find a publisher.

Usher in desperation. Invite fear. Welcome determination. Most of all, ignore God because I’ve got this one covered with blood, sweat, tears and my own ideas for my future.

Enter rejections. Dead ends. Anxiety. Anger. Don’t they see how good my book is?

Before we hung up, my friend asked me if I had any prayer requests. She’s just that kind of person. I used to be. I told her about this publisher I needed and how they needed me. “Pray they call and say yes.” She began spouting some infuriating prose about “if it’s Your will.” I was livid. No! Not “if it’s Your will!” Pray it happens. This is what I NEED! It must happen. It’s the ONLY way.

With a tight voice and clamped teeth, I thanked her for her inept prayer, hung up and crossed my arms. Why didn’t she pray what I asked her to pray? Why couldn’t she just ask God for what I needed? Why did she have to invalidate it with the “if it’s Your will” caveat?

Two hours later, the publisher called with bad news. I fell to the floor and wept. It was over. All over. I had poured three years into this book. Three years of my life swept away as if they didn’t count. Dust. I was broken and couldn’t understand God’s seemingly cruel dealings with me. I thought the book was His will. I believed He led me to write it. Like a faithful servant, I was obedient to Him. It was His book, not mine. Each chapter was wrought after travailing prayer. The book was truly an act of worship, only to be thrown into a sludge pile and spit upon.

Wait a minute! A whisper to my soul. It was His book. It’s still His book. Whatever happens with His book is not my concern. My only concern was to act in obedience and write the book—whether anything came from it or not. I had done His will but had expected an outcome that was never promised. Conviction reigned down upon me. Surrender. Give up your rights to that book. It doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to God, and He will have his way with it. “Not my will, but Your will be done.”

I opened my hand and like a balloon released into the sky. I let it go. Peace flooded my spirit—a peace I had forsaken when my will was master. Oh, to be free. To be free from what I want, from what I need, from what I think is best, from what I desire to happen. All at once, I was released from my prison and could live again. I could smile again and look with hope to my future as a child of God.

“I give this book to you, Lord. Accomplish Your will with it. It’s not mine. I have no ownership over it. It’s Yours.”

When I finally released the book to God, He was able to have His own way with it. His plans were abundantly beyond all that I could ask or imagine. Surrendering to God our plans, our desires, our rights, our hopes and dreams will enable Him to fulfill His purposes for us.

Jeannie Fulbright is the author Apologia’s award winning, best-selling elementary science series. Exploring Creation with Astronomy is the first-born book in her series. She is writing a college handbook for high school students and, in her free time, is creating inspirational romance fiction under the name Jeannie Kaye. Visit her website at www.jeanniefulbright.com and her blog at http://www.jeanniesjournal.com

 

I am a part of God's plan

God’s Plan, God’s Will

Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are lazy, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always purse what is good for one another and for all.  Rejoice always.  Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:13-18

I can’t think about being a part of God’s plan without running into the concept of “God’s Will.”  I capitalized that on purpose, because so many Christians, including myself, tend to capitalize it in our hearts.  Surely, we think, God has a plan for me, a specific plan, so I need to spend lots of time worrying and praying over which college to attend, which person to marry, which job to take.  If I don’t get it right, I might be out of “God’s Will.” 

But I’m not sure it works that way.  He pretty clearly lays out His Will right in these verses:

  1. Be at peace among yourselves
  2. Warn the lazy.
  3. Comfort the discouraged.
  4. Help the weak.
  5. Be patient with everyone.
  6. Don’t pay back evil with evil.
  7. Pursue what is good for one another.
  8. Rejoice always.
  9. Pray constantly.
  10. Give thanks in everything.

Nowhere in there does he say I’ve got to pick the “right” spouse or job or country in which to live.  But rather, wherever I live, wherever I work, I need to treat others around me in these ways.

And if I do, I am joining God in His plan.  When I choose not to repay an evil, I am showing my offender God’s grace – undoubtedly His will for my life and the life of the guy who did me wrong. When I am patient with my children, I am joining God in his plan to rear them to adore a patient God. When I comfort a weeping friend, when I help a struggling student, when I make decisions with others in mind instead of just my own gain – I am following God’s will, joining in his plan.  Who else will comfort that woman if I do not?  It is God’s Will that she be comforted.

The other stuff, the big, life-changing decisions, well, if God has an opinion on those, He’ll certainly let me know.  Sometimes, He does.  But if He doesn’t speak from Heaven, I think I can exercise my right as a daughter of the King. Sometimes, a princess gets to pick whatever she likes best, as long as the choice doesn’t go outside of God’s boundaries found in His Bible. 

It’s living in the aftermath of those choices that show whether I am truly following God’s will.  In this job, the one I chose, will I treat my coworkers compassionately?  With this husband, the one I chose, will I put his needs before my own?

Father, may I join you in your plan today, right where I am at. Show me Your Will.

I have direct access to God, Uncategorized

A Heart Bowed Before God

“Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they surely will not save them in the time of their disaster. For your gods are as many as your cities, O Judah; and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to the shameful thing, altars to burn incense to Baal. Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not listen when they call to Me because of their disaster. ~Jeremiah 11:12-14, NASB

Why do some prayers go unanswered? A question for all generations.

In recent years we had a pastor who was diagnosed with brain cancer. Prognosis:terminal. We loved this man, we loved his family. So of course, as one body, we prayed. Specifically, we prayed for a miracle healing, and for a time, it seemed that God answered with a yes. He lived through surgery, and it seemed the tumor surrendered. His life extended a few more years, but then . . .well, you can guess. We buried our dear pastor on a rainy day in April.

Please don’t think I’m tying our church to the wayward people of Israel from Jeremiah. That is not at all my thought process. Here is what strikes me, though. When God says no, or (sometimes worse) is silent, we tend to blame it on our prayers. Didn’t we pray correctly? Did I not use the right formula? Perhaps I caught God at a busy time, and the request slipped through the cracks. If I’m honest, these thoughts have passed through my mind. And they reveal a misunderstanding of prayer in general.

Praying is to be a communion between God and me. A surrendering of myself to Him. The privilege wasn’t given by God for me to use as some kind of magic. Why do I pray? To empty all that I am before God. It is an act of worship, an acknowledgement that He alone is God, and before Him alone I will bow. Does He care about the specifics of my requests? Absolutely. But He will not be manipulated by my will. Prayer is intended to help my heart fall in line with His will.

In the verses from Jeremiah, we see God saying don’t pray for them. I don’t think He’s saying ‘I don’t want to hear from you.’ I think He’s saying, ‘their hearts aren’t right before me. They try to manipulate me as though I were like the idols they have prostituted themselves to.’

I’m not saying that all unanswered prayers are because of a wrong heart, sometimes God just says ‘no’. But be on guard, wayward heart of mine. Prayer is not a chant of magic. It is a heart bowed rightly before God. Do not confuse the two.