When I was around 19 years old, I was in Patna, Bihar, a city in North India, along with my mission team. It was summertime, and there were several hundred of us young people gathered together. George Verwer of Operation Mobilization shared with us from Hebrews 4:1-2 (NKJV): “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”
This was the first time I had heard a message like this from George. He so often challenged us to a life of radical discipleship, to lay down our lives for the sake of Christ. But this new message, that “there remains a rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9), stuck out to me.
George simply talked about letting go and not striving anymore. “Let it be,” he said, “Don’t hold onto your life. Don’t fight for anything. Let the Lord be God. And there is rest. There’s no strife.” And I never forgot that message.
God is sovereign. No matter what, whether we understand what is happening or not, He is sovereign. We are His children, and He is watching over us. You never need to despair if you know Him, because He will never allow anything into your life that He is not in control of. He has a purpose in everything.
So how should we respond when things are difficult? The only correct response to a sovereign God is an attitude of trust and faith. And with that faith comes joy in knowing He is as He promises to be. No matter what situation you find yourself in, you can choose to remain joyful by trusting in Him.
We must come to the place where we say, “Whatever You decide, Lord, let it be. Your will be done. I will take my hands off.”
In 2 Chronicles 26, we read about Uzziah. He was only 16 years old when he became king of Judah. He didn’t know anything yet. He was totally helpless, and yet the Lord helped him. But later in the same chapter we read, “But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction” (2 Chronicles 26:16).He goes into the temple to burn incense to the Lord—something only priests were allowed to do. The chief priest runs to him and says, “What on earth are you doing? You are not supposed to do this thing!” (2 Chronicles 28:18, paraphrased).
Uzziah doesn’t say, “Oh, I am so sorry. Please forgive me. I made a mistake.” No. Instead, he gets angry. And right there, as the priests are watching, leprosy breaks out on his body. Now, as the priests push him out of the temple, he himself wants to rush out. Just a second ago, he was furious. I can imagine what he might have said to the priests in his anger: “No way! Who are you? I’m going to kill you.” But then, in the same minute, he runs out of the temple.
I don’t know where you are in your walk with the Lord. But I think the Lord is always looking for us to remain in a place of total dependence and childlike innocence, relying on Him. It’s not about trying to figure out all the answers or being smart or clever. Instead, as earthen vessels, we look to Him and say, “Lord, let it be. I don’t understand all these things, but I can depend on You. I want to be an instrument used by You.”
I encourage you to take a moment right now to offer yourself to Him. God’s not looking for superstars or perfect people. He’s not looking for those who know all the answers. He’s not looking for a bunch of PhD’s who can write down brilliant theological explanations about Scripture. No. He is looking for little children who will turn to Him and listen. Our hope is in God. Let us trust Him completely.
Lord, thank You for Your grace and for Your mercy. Please help us to listen. Once again, help us to become like little children on the inside. Give us humility, Lord, that we will wait on You. We thank You so much and pray these things in Jesus name. Amen.
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