When I began my personal blog, I shared the beginning of my journey into a greater dependence on – and deeper submission to – Jesus my Savior. Today’s post will delve a bit into what it took to get to this point, and to continue to grow in my walk. It is my sincere hope that some of what I share with you will resonate, let you know you’re not alone, and give you hope in your own submitted walk.
In that first blog post, I shared a verse from Jeremiah that has come to mean so much more to me in the last two years.
One thing I remember from that life-changing day…opening my Bible and turning to Psalm 23 – that beautiful passage that reminds us that Jesus will take care of us, lead us to “still waters,” comfort us, and “restore [our] soul.” Boy, did I need those still waters! And my soul…I was falling apart. I was alone when I heard the news.
It was supposed to be a simple surgery – to remove a gallstone blocking his bile duct. I told everyone not to worry about making the drive to Indianapolis. It would be over in an hour. We’d likely be home the very next day. I packed an overnight bag.
The morning of the surgery – a scope, really, to retrieve the stone – I got a muffin and coffee from the coffee shop in the hospital. It was early; I had the whole waiting room to myself and choice of TV station. I said a prayer for an uneventful, successful surgery. I enjoyed my muffin. I drank my coffee. I watched home makeovers on television.
In 50 minutes the doctor came out. His smile was tired. The surgery went well, he said. He had no issues getting the scope through the ducts to find what he was looking for. He said it wasn’t a gallstone, that he had retrieved the mass for biopsy.
I had no awareness of the expression on my face. I was numb. My brain was numb. I heard the word mass. And biopsy. I watched his face and tried to nod. The word cancer pierced through the numbness like a knife, and stayed. I heard nothing else.
Someone guided me back to the room we would become very familiar with over the next several days. I called my mom. The only words I can recall from that conversation were, Me: I’m scared. Mom: I’m on my way. I hung up. I fell apart.
Somewhere through the numbing fear the thought occurred to find the Bible in the hospital room drawer. I can tell you with certainty that this was from the Spirit. The only conscious thought in my head was “Help me. Oh, God, please help me. I can’t.”
Psalm 23 was the first one I sought out. So well-known it immediately came to mind. I tried to purposely take in the comfort, to imagine still waters around me. The hyperventilating stilled. The fear held fast. I knew God tells us many times in His word to “fear not.” But I didn’t know how to make myself “fear not” when I had so much reason to fear.
I began to turn randomly in the Bible, reading verses hoping to just hear His voice, trying to calm down. Then, I landed on Jeremiah.
“‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord…”
This so-familiar verse settled in my heart in a whole new way.
God isn’t just aware of what’s happening or will happen. He KNOWS. Intimately. Every detail of every moment, because they are His. I don’t have to know what’s going to happen. HE knows.
And suddenly, this was enough…in a way it had never been before. I didn’t have to make myself “fear not.” My part is only to let go of the problem that is entirely, hopelessly beyond myself anyway, and hold fast to the fact that God knows exactly what to do. I don’t have to. You don’t have to. Our responsibility is not to fix anything! Ours is to relinquish to God what has always been His, anyway…control.
In other words, submit to His authority.
Trust me, I get that not being in control is scary. For so many years, change of any kind was terrifying to me. I would hide in my room and have panic attacks in secret. And unexpected change? Forget it. I would worry myself sick trying to predict every scenario and plan how to deal with each one. Of course, life rarely cooperates, and often happens in ways we never would have predicted. Not many of us would have expected a gallstone to turn out to be cancer.
But God is not just any authority. He is The Authority. He is The Author of life – every word, every paragraph, every page. The Author of my life. The Author of your life.
In that one passage, in that one moment, God’s Spirit spoke Truth to my heart: God knows this story, beginning to end. He knows what’s happening now, and what will happen as the days, weeks, months, or years go by. No matter what happens from this moment on in this situation, it is under God’s authority, and in God’s control.
That alone was enough. The words sank in and the anxiety and fear literally melted. In one moment, I understood that I had experienced the “peace that passes understanding.” But, even though this Truth was enough to calm me in that moment, God gives so much more in this verse! He not only knows the plans He has for us…He tells us they are GOOD plans!
“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.
God promises to bring us hope, not harm. Though He may not reveal the details – situations that require us to trust Him build our faith – He does promise us hope, and a good future!
Jeremiah also tells us, “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.” Jer. 17:7.
That day I put my trust in the Lord as never before, in full submission. I have not regretted that for one second. Have I had difficulties? Unexpected changes? Pain? Undoubtedly. But have I also had peace through it all?
Exceedingly. Abundantly. Every. Single. Moment. And so, no matter what, I remain completely, joyfully submitted.
There is much more to my story. I have been beyond blessed in every imaginable way throughout the whole of it. I continue to be blessed every day.
But my story is not unique in this Truth: God LOVES you. God wants to bless you, to comfort you, to give you peace and hope, now and from this moment on!
Will you trust Him enough to submit completely, wholeheartedly to His loving authority?
I promise, you will never regret it!
p.s. for more of God’s Truth, Love, and Hope – and more of my story – follow me at livingjoyfullysubmitted.blogspot.com, on Instagram (Joyfully Submitted), or on Facebook (Living Joyfully Submitted Blog Page). I’d love to hear your comments!