For the past two years, God has really been working within me to cultivate a spirit of surrender, yet I’m still so far from being fully surrendered to Him in any area of life.
I want to be surrendered. I want to want what He wants for me more than I want what I want for myself. And I do…with my head. But so many times, my emotions tell a very different story. So it’s no surprise that this theme of surrender wove a thread through my latest novel that officially releases today. Claire Laurent, the heroine in A Lasting Impression, mirrors some of my personal struggle in her own need to surrender her desires.
I love Jeremiah 29:11-13, a much-quoted and familiar promise:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
Sounds great, doesn’t it? God’s plans are for good, not harm. Giving us a future and hope. This is all great stuff! But…
Are you familiar with verse 10 of that same chapter, and verse 14? The two verses that bracket that promise we love to quote? They’re not as frequently quoted, but they should be:
Let’s read that passage again, beginning with verse 10 and reading through verse 14:
“This is what the Lord says, “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you, says the Lord. I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your land.”
Wait a minute! Captivity? He’s promising captivity? AKA: struggle, hardship, things we wouldn’t choose for ourselves? May I please skip that part of the promise? But therein lies the rub…
In order to become more like Christ, to receive the full blessing, we must accept the full promises of God. And that means following His lead, no matter that it leads us down roads we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves. Or that it means being held captive by [or enduring for a time] a certain hurt or painful circumstance, because within that pain is a path to greater closeness to God. A hard truth, indeed.
But look, twice he promises "I'll bring you home." Twice he promises "You will find me." Is there anything better, especially after a long journey, than being home? And finding the Lord, being in his presence...is that not the desire of our hearts? Look at the beauty in creation pictured on this page. Do the breathtaking colors of fall not speak of his love? And of his tender care?
So take Jeremiah’s promise to heart… God does indeed have a distinct purpose and plan for you and for me, and it’s one He’s plotted with our eternal best in mind.
So incredibly grateful we're in this together,
P.S. And okay, the puppies aren't exactly "fallish" but they were so cute!
Taken by my son a couple of days ago, also in our neighborhood