At the end of this past May, I had planned to travel to Pennsylvania from Canada to attend my high school graduation. In June, I had planned to attend my final month of youth group and be sent off by my community. I had envisioned July as a month filled with road trips and adventures with friends. In August, I had planned to savour the last month of attending my home church and say a sad goodbye to the community I so loved. On August 25th, I had planned to pack up my life and fly to California to begin my journey as a student at Biola.
None of these things looked as they should have. (Or as I thought they should have.) The Lord had different plans for the Summer of 2020 for me. It was to be a summer of Surrendering, Trusting, and Resting.
“If I were to fully trust in the Lord... to fully realize that my sole purpose is to bring Him glory and please only Him… I wonder if I would be content no matter the circumstance in which I am placed. Shouldn’t I be? If my sole purpose is glorifying Him, and if I believe He is fully sovereign, then I should be able to rest no matter what happens to me… no matter what or who I lose. I should rejoice knowing that whatever happens is planned by Him, filtered through His fingers, and will ultimately glorify Him. What if I lost things like my entire community? The relationships I hold dear? The dream of Biola? I would simply have to rest, knowing that He is good and all of His plans are good, even when I don’t think they are.” - February 22, 2020.
I spoke these words only two weeks before the world around me changed, only two weeks before the Lord began my summer of Surrendering, Trusting, and Resting.
Surrendering: As I watched the things that I held so dear be slowly ripped from my hands, I found myself angry, confused, and grappling for some sense of control and autonomy. Why? Because I had lived with the subconscious belief that I had control over my plans. I didn’t truly believe that the Lord’s plans were better than mine. As the summer months progressed and I watched plans I had anticipated for years crumble, the Lord began to reveal in me an idol of control. I highly value “knowing.” I love predictability. I hate when things feel like they are out of my hands. (Of course, things are always and have always been out of my hands. I simply hadn’t realized that before.) My response to the crumbling of my plans not only revealed in me idolatry, it revealed a lack of surrender. As the summer months progressed and things were revealed to be even further from my control than I previously thought, I began to open my hands. I took my tightly clenched fists that clung desperately to my perfectly thought out plans and slowly began to open my fingers. As my hands opened, so did my heart. And, so began a season of sweet surrender to the Lord.
Trusting: Following this lesson in surrender, came a lesson in trust. I needed something to do with the broken plans lying in my open palms. My tightly-clenched-fist approach to planning did not succeed. I needed to know that all I had surrendered would be held in different hands. Stronger hands. Trustworthy hands. I had to not only release my dreams, hopes, and plans, but I had to hand them over. So, I handed them to the Lord. How silly to think that plans are better held in my hands than in the hands of an entirely sovereign Father who loves me? Not only is He sovereign… He is good and so is everything about Him. If everything about Him is good, then His plans must be good. This is what I had to trust as I handed my wants over to Him. Like I said on February 22, “All of His plans are good, even when I don’t think they are.” The truth is, I didn’t like what God decided to do to my Summer 2020 plans. They were supposed to be the three most exciting months of my life. Instead they were some of the most disappointing. But because of the fact that He is good, I had to trust that what He was doing was good and that it would ultimately glorify Him.
Resting: My hands were open in surrender. My plans were handed to Him in trust. All I needed to do was sit back and rest in the knowledge of who He is… A good, sovereign, and just God who does as He pleases with the good of His children in mind. What more could I hope for in a Father? The truth of who He is allowed me to rest knowing that even if my plans as I had planned them did not come to fruition, I still follow a God who is good.
My hope is that you have been encouraged by the lessons that the Lord has taught me this past summer. Maybe He’s taught you the same ones. Maybe He hasn’t. My prayer and exhortation to you is that wherever you’re at, you would learn to lean into Him and hopefully begin your own lessons in Surrendering, Trusting, and Resting. Believe me, it is worthwhile.