Trusting God through the tough times
Be careful what you ask for…
I never realised what I was letting myself in for when God gave me “Surrender” as my word of the year for 2016, and I accepted the assignment.
Surrendering to God is supposed to make things easier, right? I guess I expected I’d be walking in His will, strolling along the path He prepared for me, everything sunshine and flowers.
Straight away, things got worse. Our income dropped, meaning plans we’d made had to change. I developed a rare neurological condition, making it hard to walk. It affects my balance, so I stagger around like a drunken sailor. My memory is shot. And worst of all for a writer, I “lose” words. I know there’s a word for what I want to write, but I can’t recall it. The brain fog makes writing take three times longer than it should, wading through quicksand.
You’d think the image I chose to go with my verse for the year would have given me a clue how I felt about surrender. That solitary last lone leaf clinging to the branch, refusing to let go!
And it’s a great verse, but patience is not my strong point, and God knows it.
I wish so much for an easy life. For my husband to be well. To be free of financial worries. For difficult family relationships to be healed. For this health condition to get better (there’s no treatment, but sometimes it does spontaneously go into remission). To be able to serve God through my writing without all this other real life stuff getting in the way.
I so quickly get angry and impatient with Him when things don’t go my way. He’s Father God, I’m a two-year old throwing a tantrum!
But He never promised we wouldn’t have hard times. He promised He’d be there with us, whatever happens.
Trusting God keeps His promises
God is teaching me that the real life stuff I want to be free of is actually His workshop. The place He changes me, makes me more like Him, teaches me what words like “surrender” truly mean.
Max Lucado says, “God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.”
Yep, like Jesus. Scary thought.
Jesus, who rode into Jerusalem as a king, then obeyed and surrendered to the ultimate—dying on the cross three days later, trusting His Father’s promise to raise Him to glory.
Jesus who on the cross, with the burden of our sins upon Him, for the first time felt separation from the Father, felt forsaken by Him.
So it’s no surprise that sometimes when things are tough we feel that separation too. It feels as if God isn’t there, as if He’s left us alone, as if He’s somehow punishing us.
He’s not. He’s teaching us.
God’s lesson is to keep trusting His promises, no matter how we feel. The times of struggle are part of His plan for us, just as much as the times of victory. If we lean on Him, He will nourish us. If we go deep into trusting Him, we will feel His loving arms around us, holding ups and supporting us.
Writing the struggle into my stories
I find that the lessons I most need to learn come out in my stories. In the story I’m writing now, medical missionary Matthew is a real life hero, dedicated to his life-saving work. He’s also burned out and bitter. Fuelled by duty and self-will, he’s tried to do it from his own strength, rather than trusting in God.
He needs to learn the meaning of grace, that we can’t win God’s approval by hard work, only by surrendering to Him. This story will be included in the Whispers of Love multi-author boxed set releasing in June and available on preorder now. Hint hint! (http://amzn.to/1VmXYaf )
In my last published story, A Lesson in Love ( http://amzn.to/232odIU ), Sarah faces way bigger trials than I hope I ever will, and learns that sometimes God reaches out to us through the people around us. Trying to carry our own burdens and do it all on our own isn’t the answer.
Fraser, who loves her and wants her to accept his help, gives her this picture, to help her learn God’s lesson in love.
We live in a society that values self-will and self-reliance, trusting our own hard work will get us through, yet God wants to teach us the opposite. He wants us to surrender our wills to Him, to rely on Him, not on our own strength. He wants us to accept the help that’s offered, not struggle through alone. Both Matthew and Sarah need to learn that. I know I do.
Maybe God is speaking to your heart, whispering you need to learn that lesson too?
What lessons is God teaching You right now? Please share in the comments. I have one ebook copy of A Lesson in Love to give away to a randomly chosen commenter on this post.
Autumn Macarthur is an Australian writer of inspirational romance living near London with her very English husband, and four spoiled cats who think she is their human slave (they aren’t wrong!). She loves reading, cooking, gardening, and writing deeply emotional stories to make you smile and remind you how big and wide and deep God’s love and forgiveness can be.
She tends to talk a little too much and laugh a little too loud, her sleep schedule is all over the place so you’ll often find her on the internet at 5am, and she’s grateful to be blessed with some good friends and a very patient husband. She’s also eternally thankful for God’s great love and mercy.
When she’s not writing, looking after cats, or in the garden, she can be found on her website http://www.autumnmacarthur.com ; on Facebook as Autumn Macarthur https://www.facebook.com/autumn.macarthur , and on Twitter as @autumnmacarthur https://twitter.com/autumnmacarthur . She loves hearing from readers so do get in touch!
You can subscribe to her mailing list here to receive a free short romance ebook in May – https://madmimi.com/signups/116735/join
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