“I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.” –Mother Teresa
I wonder what we would hear if we were to simply walk up to people on the street and ask them to share their story with us. Sometimes in Ecuador I would ride on a bus and look at the faces of the people around me one by one, trying to imagine what it would be like to put on their shoes for a while and walk where they have walked. There is a quote I heard once that says that we should always be kind, because everyone is fighting a battle that we know nothing about. I think that is pretty good advice.
There is also not a single person in the world who knows for certain what will happen to them from one moment to the next. Life’s a funny thing; you think you’re going in one direction and then in a lightning flash, everything could change. One decision can affect the rest of your life. I can try to imagine what God might do with this or that situation, how He might redeem this or that heartbreak, but I am nearly always surprised at what He comes up with. It’s like He sees more dimensions than I do. I’m thinking 2D and He’s thinking…1,000D. It’s exhausting even trying to figure out how everything is connected.
I realize that with all the practice I could put into it and all the imagination I could grow, even so, God is a much better author than I could ever be. I wish I could say that this gives me perfect peace about the future, knowing that He has it all figured out. Although that’s definitely the goal, I am not there yet. I still wonder. I still stress. I still fall to the temptation to worry. I receive a word from God and I immediately sit down (or pace around) and try to figure out how to make it happen. I find myself having to learn how to let go and trust Him with the unknown over and over and over again. I guess that’s why Jesus said, “Pick up your cross DAILY and follow Me (Luke 9:23).” He knows that it is a daily process.
One of the hardest but most important lessons we can learn is how to invest with open hands. It’s hard to put everything you’ve got into a ministry and at the end of the day give it back to God, to whom it actually belongs. Sometimes it feels as though we are failing God if when we hand it over to Him, the outcome is not what we had expected or hoped. It’s one thing to have a situation like Ambato, where we knew we had to leave for the ministry to grow. There was not a doubt that it was time. At least for me, that was an easy thing to hand back over to God. It is much harder to have high hopes for something only to see it decline, to look back and wonder if you did everything you could, and then face God’s open hand. God, how can I hand that over to You when I am not proud of what I am giving You? How can I surrender what I don’t feel like I have completed well?
I have come to realize that, try as we might, life doesn’t go the way we plan…ever. There are supposed victories and failures, and though we have free will and a myriad of choices to make on any given day, we all come to the conclusion at one point or another that we really aren’t in control of the outcomes in our lives. Naturally, that realization causes a level of desperation inside of us. If there’s one thing we like to have, that’s control. If we’re smart, it shouldn’t take us long to realize that control is an illusion. So do we walk through life grasping at the air, or do we surrender to the One who truly is in control? I find in myself that I do much more of the former than the latter.
A few days ago, God awakened once again a passion that I have for a city in Africa. Immediately I started trying to figure out how I could get there or how I could help and frantically started asking God what I needed to do about it. My cousin quickly reminded me that I don’t need to make it happen, and I definitely don’t need to make it happen tomorrow. She spoke firmly, “That’s God’s job.” I can’t even begin to describe the peace that came after she said that.
I am reading a book by an author that shares my passion for orphaned children in Africa. Just in exploring matters of the heart with her, I have found so much common ground with her internal struggles and inspiration in the conclusions that she draws. Yesterday the greatest lesson I learned as I read story after story of broken hearts and shattered lives and my heart screamed to be there and to love on them…was that these children are God’s children, not mine. I have often wondered why God doesn’t hurry up and call me over there. Then I am reminded that this is His story, not mine…and God is urgent, but He is not in a hurry. Once again I have to surrender my 2D vision to His 1,000D vision. He’s got this all worked out.
So I guess this is a lesson for all of us (and that would be all of us) whose lives have not gone like we have planned. However, I can say with all my heart that the more I learn how to surrender my illusion of control of my present and my future to Him, the more I LOVE my life. I love how every day God brings something new. He constantly challenges me out of my comfort zone and molds me more and more into the woman He needs me to be. As I have learned to become more dependent on Him, He has in turn been able to do more through my life. I have experiences, talents, and an interesting personality…and all of those are pencils in His hand; not so that I can write a good story, but so that He can. And what is He writing? A love letter, and it is beautiful.
Do you find yourself constantly grasping at the air, trying to grab hold of just a piece of control? As humans, we want to feel safe and secure. However, the problem is that we look for security in things that could never provide that, and in the search for safety we often lose the big picture for the details. Worry clouds our vision. Responsibility weighs us down, and it is a heavy weight to bear.
What if you considered for a minute that you were made to be free? What if you entered the process of surrender to this God who wants to do so much more with what you have in your hands than you could ever do? When we hand God the pencil of our life, we enter into an adventure that we could never have imagined. He is the only One who can orchestrate redemption on 1,000 different dimensions. And you know what the kicker is? You are not the protagonist of your story or the star of your show; Jesus is, and He is captivating!
So what do you say? I’d say do it. Hand Him the pencil of your life. It’s worth it. It’s so worth it.