Restful Anticipation from You Version
After years of praying and coming up empty-handed in our journey to adopt a child, I sat on my patio with my head in my hands. I prayed out loud, “Lord, this feels like you’re taking me to the very edges of my trust in you. This is it, God. This is all I have to give. You have every ounce of my trust; there isn’t a drop left.”
That day on the patio stands out in my mind because at the end of my prayer I let out a little laugh in surrender. And I wondered if that’s how Abraham’s wife, Sarah felt when she heard she would have a baby at ninety years old. The three prophetic visitors in Genesis said Abraham’s wife would have a baby in a year. Sarah, listening from inside the tent, laughed to herself. “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” (Genesis 18:12)
I can relate to facing what seemed like an impossible situation. But I came to the end of all my efforts and natural solutions and striving, and it felt good to put it in God’s hands completely. Elisabeth Elliot writes, “God is God. If He is God, He is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere but in His will, and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.”
We often think of surrender like waving a white flag in battle. But my day of surrendering to God felt more like standing in the kitchen with a burnt cake in my hands, laughing because I messed the whole thing up. Then suddenly, I remember that God is an expert in turning messes into miracles, and I let out a little laugh.
Sarah laughed because she knew she couldn’t make it happen herself. The promise from God was too big, too far-fetched for a woman who was 90 years old.
And yet, despite the obstacles, God fulfilled His promise, and Sarah gave birth to Isaac.
It would be great if Sarah paved a road for us all to follow, a road of faith and optimism and kindness and trust. Wouldn’t it be great if she gave us the formula to follow for our waiting season? I can see it in the headlines: “Faith-Filled Woman Gives Birth in Her Nineties.” We’d all lean in for that kind of faith. Give us the formula—only there isn’t one.
The truth is, Sarah wasn’t all that full of faith. She didn’t play all her cards right. It seems to me, the action she took only made things messier than they needed to be (I’m guilty of the same thing). Yet, God still fulfilled what He promised.
If everyone got exactly what they wanted through trust and surrender, we’d rejoice because we finally nailed the formula. Surrender isn’t because God needs something from us but because He wants something for us—the peace that comes from trusting in Him alone. Surrender and trust enable us to accept the outcome, even if it looks different than we thought it would. A posture of surrender—even laughable surrender—recognizes that we’ve come to the end of our striving and natural solutions and we put our trust in Him no matter what. We don’t need to know what God is up to or how He’s going to work it out, we only need to know that He is a good God with our best interest in mind. And, as it turns out, impossible situations are His specialty.
Father, forgive me for lacking trust in you. Forgive me for trusting too much in myself, my capabilities, my circumstances, or others. Help my full trust to reside in you. I surrender my doubt, my fear, and my confusion. I don’t know where this path leads, but I want to trust you every step of the way. Thank you for a new level of trust in you. Amen.