Just two weeks ago, I was blessed to be a keynote speaker at the wonderful Raising Generations Today conference in Rochester NY. One of the main points in my talk, and my repeated point to the ladies in attendance was this:
Does Jesus get to choose your future, if you’ll marry, how many children you’ll have (or whether you’ll have children) what your family will look like, how your career will go, where you should live, etc? What I was really asking them was this:
Will you let Jesus pick? Does He get to choose your future?
It’s an honor to be entrusted with a platform and an opportunity to speak life and truth to others but I can promise you this,
What you preach you’ll have to live!
My husband Mike and I are letting Jesus pick right now and honestly, we’re not thrilled with His choice. Here’s a little back story so you understand what we’re dealing with.
We’ve been trying to sell our house, on and off, for the last eighteen months. Our daughter Francesca is going to have her third child in March and we’ve been hoping to move closer to help out with our grandchildren more than we’ve been able to living three hours away. Thankfully, we have a home business and Franny is our only child so we are free to relocate wherever we want.
Except, not so much. Our house still hasn’t sold….In a year and a half!
Before I went to speak to the ladies at the conference, we were certain we had a contract on our house. It wasn’t one hundred percent nailed down but it was looking good enough that, as soon as the conference ended, we headed directly to Nashville and spent three solid days house-hunting and making plans to move until…the buyers pulled out at the last moment. To be completely honest with you, it hit us harder than we’d imagined. For now we’re frustrated but at the same time, we have faith in God’s better plan so…
…We are letting Jesus pick.
I’ve been through enough seasons with the Lord to know He can handle my future. He sees what I can’t, He knows what I don’t and my job description is simple: trust Him no matter what it looks like. Over decades He’s taught me a critically important truth:
God isn’t after my happiness but my highest good.
So for now, our house is off the market and we’ve chosen to wait and see where He leads us. We’re letting Jesus pick rather than trying to chase a sale and force a square peg into a round hole. We really do have peace about the situation and we’re doing our best to remain open to whatever future God is designing for us.
Years ago when the Lord made it crystal clear, after miscarriage and many failed adoption attempts, Mike and I were being asked to raise an only child, we decided then and there Jesus knew best. There was nothing easy about it at the time but it turned out exactly the way it was supposed to.
When we meddle and try to pick what we want, making things happen our way, the outcome can be disastrous. Remember what happened to Lot in the book of Genesis?
Lot and Abraham have to choose which land to move to because the land couldn’t sustain them both:
“Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together.” Genesis 13:6.
So, Abraham graciously allows Lot to choose first but, instead of inquiring of the Lord, Lot simply chooses the better looking land, the ‘well-watered plain’ as it says in Genesis 13. Lot didn’t realize in picking the pretty land he was picking Sodom, a place destined to destruction by God. He didn’t know when he made his fateful choice he would barely escape with his life, lose his wife and end up fathering two children with his daughters, causing strife between nations still affecting the world today.
Contrast Lot’s fate with Abraham, who, in letting Lot go first and trusting God to pick for him, inherited the promise of the land to him and his seed forever! A promise still standing today!
When we’re not wholly submitted to God it can end up causing all kinds of trouble for us.
How often do we make God over into our own preferred image, a god who does things our way, clearing all obstacles, showering down blessings, giving us great options and letting us pick the one we like the best. Wouldn’t it be nice if it worked that way? As much as we wish it were so, He’s not Santa-Jesus or a Ouija board we can push around until He spells out the future we’d like. He is the sovereign God of the universe and He alone knows exactly what we need.
Here are a few thoughts to help if you too are struggling to let jesus pick:
1- Submit to God even when He’s not giving you exactly what you want. Trust is hard but it’s how we grow in the Lord. Our faith only grows one way, through testing. Gods desire for you is union with Himself which takes time to develop but in the season of suffering, when the clouds of your life are thick and you can’t see the sun, when His voice goes silent and the pain is real, don’t give in. Hold Him ever closer and trust He knows best.
2- Submit your requests in prayer. I’ve absolutely clung to this scripture the past 18 months:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
When God says be anxious for nothing He means nothing! When you’re no longer anxious, you’ll find it easier to truly pray with thanksgiving. I pray you will believe me and know God has a good plan for you!
3- Thanksgiving really is critical but it’s hard to get there when you’re not getting what you want so badly. I’ve had to check my attitude many, many times in the last eighteen months! (Waiting can reveal a whole lot of ugly, I promise).
4- Be patient. I love the fact our God operates outside of time meaning, He’s not only in your today, He’s in your tomorrow, in fact, He’s in your future getting circumstances all set up. Hang in there
5- Don’t force the issue. It really can be challenging to wait on the Lord and His perfect timing but, here’s another scripture I’ve learned to cling to in the waiting seasons:
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:3
Oh how I need to ‘walk and not faint’! The good news is, in the waiting is where you’ll find renewed strength as He builds your faith muscles.
6- Often the waiting is a test. At times He takes away what we want, in order to test us, and to help us trust him more authentically. One time Paul was suffering so much he thought he was going to die, but he knew God’s purpose was good and he was learning to rely on Him. God was loving Paul with tough love. So Paul said,
“That suffering was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead”. 2 Corinthians 1:9
7- Know God loves you with an everlasting love! He cares for you, He created you and He truly knows what’s best! Did you realize He’s actually numbered the hairs on your head? Not just counted them, no. Each hair is numbered. Who loves you enough to do that??
8- Sometimes obeying God means not getting what you want. There are seasons when the new job doesn’t come through or the diagnosis isn’t good or the adoption falls through or the pregnancy unexpectedly ends and none of it makes any sense at the time. But, see number 9.
9- Time gives incredible perspective! When my husband and I were only given one child it felt impossible to understand at first because what we wanted was a good and noble thing, or so we thought. It took time to see it from God’s point of view and accept His will with grace.
10- It takes perseverance and courage to wait patiently until God reveals your next step. I have no idea when my house will sell and I don’t like not knowing but I know He knows and you know, that’s all I need to know.
When Mike and I were new Christians and wanting a big family, we didn’t understand how the very dream we clung to, the dream giving our lives purpose and joy, wasn’t God’s dream for us. He required us to lay down the very dream we held so close. Because, and this seems crazy but it’s true, He had something better than we could’ve imagined and all He asked of us was trust. He knew as time went by, His better plan for us would become clear.
Remember, God adores you, He actually does have a plan for you and a future and a hope! But remember too, He isn’t after your happiness but your highest good. Sometimes it means He might pick a future you hadn’t planned on but when you let Him pick, It will turn out for the best. I promise!
How can I pray for you as you let Jesus pick? I’d be honored!
And even suffering has an eternal, good purpose: “This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen” 2 Corinthians 4:17–18.