Isaiah 30: 15-17
For this is what the master, the Lord the Holy One of Israel says: “If you repented and patiently waited for me, you would be delivered; if you calmly trusted in me you would find strength, but you were unwilling…”( New English Translation)
God, the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel: “Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me — The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do…” (The Message)
I have recited these scriptures over and over again, yet I still struggle to remain at rest on a daily basis. Some days are better than others, but for the most part, it is no easy feat to calmly trust in God when everything seems to go wrong. When mishaps, mistakes, and misunderstandings occur. When there is not enough money to go around. When it seems like I am all alone. When people act funny towards me or get easily offended. When the kids act up.
God clearly tells me these scriptures to repent or turn back to him and calmly trust Him. Yet, I am still unwilling. The main way my unwillingness to calmly trust in God is manifested by choosing to fret and figure in a situation instead of calmly waiting on God for revelation.
There is a difference between calmly going over a situation in your mind and going off the deep end trying to figure it out. You know that you have crossed over into not trusting in God when the thinking turns into fretful figuring. This is a manifestation of a silly effort to save myself when I try to figure out something that only God can give the answer for.
The last time I checked, Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. He did not fuss and fume to figure out anything. The only time He sweated was at the Cross when he sweated blood in preparation to die for the sins of the world. He told us plainly to not let our hearts be troubled and neither let it be afraid (John 14:27). He told us to stop allowing ourselves to be agitated, distressed, fearful, cowardly and unsettled. He told us to fret not ourselves. He lives in us. We are complete in Him who is the Head of all Principalities and Powers (Col 2:10). In Him we live and move and have all of our being (Acts 17:28). If all of this is true, then why do we act the opposite? Why do we let agitated and anxious thoughts take over until they take root in our souls?
It is because we are carnal human beings. The Self, The Ego, The Flesh naturally thinks that it is God, that it can figure out something, that it can control something that somehow or another it can solve something and get the credit without God. We want to be IN CONTROL. It irks us to no end when we are not “in the know”, when stuff happens that we didn’t expect, what stuff takes a turn that we didn’t anticipate and we are left struggling trying to gather ourselves. When things like this happen, we decide to do all we can to anticipate, plan, prepare and be in control of our lives, but in spite of our best made plans and preparations, something inevitably goes awry.
When stuff like this happens it HURTS. It feels bad. We look bad. What will other people think? The list goes on. We don’t want to hurt again. We don’t want to go through that mess again. We don’t want to be embarrassed. We have our pride. We don’t like the shame. So we figure. We fret. We plan. We fuss. We think and think and think some more. We can turn a situation around in our heads a thousand different ways. We say a quick prayer and think we are trusting in God. But we are really trusting in ourselves. We think we can figure out all by ourselves. Even though we would never dare verbalize it or admit it to ourselves, our actions show that we think we are smarter than God. God takes too long to do stuff. We can do something now. Although we have confessed Jesus as our Savior, He is not our Lord when we still have our small weak, selves sitting on the thrones of our hearts trying to run our personal worlds as if we were the Sovereign God.
In my head I know that I am not Sovereign, yet in my day-to-day life, I sure think I am! I don’t have any control over my own heart beating. I can’t control the automatic inhaling and exhaling of my lungs. I can’t wake myself up in the morning from deep slumber. I could easily die in my sleep on any given night and not know it. God, however, has control over all of this in my life. He created me. He knows my thoughts and words before I think them. He knows the past, present and future for me. Why do I think I am smart by trying to figure out something beyond my capacity? Why do I worry, fret, fume, and figure? It is because I think I am God. I still wake up in the morning and act like I’m God when I attempt to control circumstances or run my life by figuring in the flesh instead of calmly trusting that the One Who made me in the first place will order my steps.
To me the most painful part of this awareness is the fact 1) it is sin and 2) the fruit of such behavior will eventually manifest in my life as the form of lack of peace and poise. How can we attract unsaved people to God when we have no peace? Why would they want what we got? Peace is defined as the absence of all strife or fighting within or without. It is also defined as the absence of agitation or discord. Fretting, figuring, trying to be in control is evidence of strife, agitation and discord from within.
The biggest blessing from the times where I have surrendered is the state of peace from within. It is worth its weight in Gold. Nothing can compare to it. Surrendering your will to God’s will in life situations bring peace. Peace that passes your understanding. It is ironic that the only way to come to this level, is a slow, long process of self death. By the time you really surrender, you are to the point where you could care less, you just want peace. When God is Sovereign, you have Peace. When Self is Sovereign, you have Stress. When God is truly on the Throne, there is quietness in the soul.
I realize that I will not change overnight. It would be very easy to actually start stressing about the fact that I am unable to trust God fully and that I am probably relying on myself most of the time. Ouch. I cannot change myself by trying figure it out how to do it. It is a work of the Holy Spirit from within. Therefore I continue to read this scripture further and receive comfort in knowing that when we truly settle down and rely upon Him that he ….“ longs to be gracious to (us); therefore he will rise up to show you (us) compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him…”