“You don’t get the peace that passes understanding until you give up your right to understand.” ~ Bill Johnson
It was a Saturday evening and I was headed down a crooked road that connects my side of town to the other; headed to the grocery store on the same road that I have driven more times than I can count. A path that would quickly reveal crooked wounds of my own heart, the bends and turns that have choked the very life out of my joy and peace.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 56:8-9
I’m so thankful that God created me with a heart that yearns to give love. I love to serve. I love to help. I love to give. But many times, this God-given gift has been manipulated by my own need for control. Somehow, I was easily convinced that having everything in order and going above and beyond would prevent the chaos I so feared. That then, I would be safe. That love and service would outweigh the pain that life threatened. Lies from the adversary entangled with sin and embedded issues so easily produced a work based love instead of a free-flowing love that I was created to give. The kind of love that I crave myself.
When I was a little girl, I vividly remember a man in a suit walking on the side of the road as we coasted past in the car with Sunday School as our destination. I begged my daddy to turn around and pick him up because I just knew he had to be going to church too. My heart was broken that he was having to walk. My dad turned the car around, picked him up, and my heart melted as we drove him to church. It was innocent love wrapped in serving that has helped to shape my heart into who I am today. But over the years, suffering and pain and sin has tainted that innocence and often stolen the truth that love was making me more like Christ instead of protecting me from hardship.
This time, it was a road again that would break my heart in the worst kind of way. A bend in the road that haunts my mind and reminds me over and over again to give up, to surrender.
You see, as I came around the corner that Saturday evening, a car slammed into mine and there we remained until help arrived. My first instinct was to get out and check on the other driver but I couldn’t move. The pain that riddled my inside drove me to beg God for life and for help. It will never be forgotten.
While death was in the air and I was being cut from my car, two things continuously rolled into my thoughts. “He is greater than I” and the sweet melody of “We trust you, Your ways are higher than our own.” On the stretcher, in the ambulance, in the machines, in the dark of night. The same words over and over while battling the endless tears of guilt for the loss of life. A family that would never see their own again.
The last three months have been a spiritual fight like never before. Fighting for the truth when nightmares and insomnia felt in charge. Begging for help when his car and his face was all that I could see. Pleading for reconciliation between my faith and my circumstances so that I could find peace. I’ve had to give up. Throw my hands to the heavens and really let go. Give up my need for control and trust the God of the bible like I say that I do.
You see, trust has finally seeped into my veins and a new song has been given to heal my wounds. Hard days still come and I continue to relive the accident every time I drive on that crooked road but I can wholeheartedly say, I am not in control and I trust the God who is.
There’s not enough worrying I can do to save my children.
There’s not enough planning I can do to prevent tragedy.
There’s not enough serving I can do that will protect me from hardship.
There’s not enough love that I can give that will fix another’s life.
It’s not my job. It’s not my place. I am not in control.
It’s been ugly. Really ugly. But my God how He has been patient and kind. Faithfulness has been evident and hope has been restored. Great and mighty angels have been encamped around me to protect me. Family and friends have been the hands and feet of Jesus. Scripture has been the light when the darkness caused fear. Prayer has been my lifeline when no one else understood. Comfort from the Holy Spirit in worship and praise brought me out of isolation and remembering what He has already done has fueled my trust in a Good Daddy. For real.
“Any area of my life for which I have no hope is under the influence of a lie.”~ Bill Johnson
If it took a tragedy to teach me that living as if I could manipulate God’s plan somehow was disobedient and stealing my freedom, so be it. If it took the threat of death to unveil the lies that have hidden a foundation planted in genuine trust, so be it. If it took a broken heart that could only be healed by the Father, so be it.
“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the LORD.” Isaiah 66:9
“The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that is coming.” Romans 8:18
Beloved, I am so sorry for the pain you are having to endure. Whatever it may be, I understand that it can sting so much so that the very next breath is hard to take. But you have to hold fast. You have to let go. God knows best and even when it hurts, He’s still good. Believe it. Give up the lies that are restricting the peace that is promised as child of God. Repent of doubt and faithlessness and trust. Trust like never before.
Praying for us all.