That title is not original. It is a carbon copy from the lead bullet in my pastor’s message this Sunday. He was preaching from the Great Commission text that is found in Matthew 28. And he said that he was convinced as he studied the text that God uses our individual story to tell His story to the world. To share His message of love and grace.
To illustrate this point, he shared an encounter with Jesus from John 9. I don’t know if I had never read this passage before, or it had just never struck me, but boy it hit me this week. In this story, there was a blind man that came into contact with Jesus, and the disciples asked whether or not it was the man or his parents that sinned to cause his blindness. During that period, it was commonly accepted wisdom that any disability or impairment you had was a result of your or your family’s sin. But listen to Jesus’ response to their question, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” His blindness was not because of sin, but because God was going to use this man’s journey to reach others for Him. God’s work would be revealed and glorified THROUGH this man’s story.
Then my pastor hit a home run on my conviction scale when he shared about his choice to leave our church this month as a result of a clear calling from God. He said: “Everything was turning out just the way we had it planned. And we knew the plans we had for us. And then God interrupted those plans…..” He went on to say that his period of wrestling over what to do was not because he didn’t trust that God knew best – he did. But, he said, “I just simply didn’t want to surrender my plans for His.”
Wow. Have you ever been there? Are you there now? I am and have been for a while. Heck, I’ve been writing about it on and off since I began writing last fall. I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. This was his invitation at the end of the sermon, “Maybe there’s a place in your life that you need to surrender. And you’re holding on so tightly you just can’t let go. Maybe it’s your plans and you have worked them out so carefully and maybe everything is turning out the way you want but something is stirring inside and you know that your plans are getting in the way of God’s…..I can’t think of a better to place to surrender everything you’re holding on to so tightly, your plans, your guilt, your fear….let it go, give it to God…….”
If you think of what God surrendered, His only son, Christ’s death on a cross, then surely no matter what we are being asked to do, no matter where we are being asked to go, it’s not nearly the surrender that Christ made to give us the hope and promise of eternal life. It’s not going to be easy, but I am going to try, Type-A-Super-Planner-Me, to surrender my perfectly laid plans and replace them with His. To allow Him to call me where I’m supposed to go. In order for His story to be revealed through mine.