(The rainbow that Merilee Barnard captured over my church the day of Bro. Tommy Wade’s funeral visitation. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11 I can submit!)
Sis. Edith Wade was in her 90s when I used to hear her say, “God doesn’t need my opinions.”
We were the senior class sponsors the year that we got the bright idea to travel to California and include a few days in youth services as part of the senior trip. I was really sold on the idea. I thought it would be helpful to some of the seniors, and we could do some neat things. However, to be able to go to California, we had to have at least one extra day added to this trip. When the idea went before the school board and administration, they said, “No.” They would not budge on letting us have even one extra day to travel back (the services ended on a Sunday, so we would have to have Monday for traveling).
My heart fumed. I probably would not have wanted to admit it, but it did. What? They won’t let us have even one extra day even if it will help some of the students? What about when they go on their basketball extracurricular games? They take a day for that! Oh, the conversations that roared in my head!
Since we weren’t allowed to go to faraway California, we planned a trip for Arkansas. It would only be a few hours away, but we could still do a lot of interesting things. We had no idea this March would be a totally different one for us. By the time that senior trip was close, it became evident that our pastor was not going to win the war on cancer. God was going to take him home. He had been my pastor for almost twenty years and had become a spiritual father to me. Because we were so close to Kansas, we were able to leave the seniors in Arkansas with the other sponsor and come back for the funeral. Then we picked up another senior and drove back to Arkansas when the funeral was over. This never would have been possible if we had been in California. It hit me…we were never supposed to go to California that year. I’m so glad that I didn’t get my way!
The next year, God helped me to die out in a fall revival. I prayed at the altar until He witnessed that I had given Him ALL…all my failures, all that was right with me, everything that was wrong with me…everything! But I have found that keeping that ALL in God’s hands is just as important.
This past year, a situation came up. It was a bittersweet moment as I reflected on a job that God had given me in the past and how much I had enjoyed it. It seemed that the same job would never be allowed to be mine again. It seemed personal. Then God brought back the senior trip to my mind. He let me know that if it was HIS will, then He could work it out. I don’t need to have an agenda. It came to me, “If this is God’s will in my life, it can’t be stopped.” I can submit. I can be at rest.
That job never was offered to me, and all is well! If it had opened up for me, this whole last year would have been different. There would not have been a devotional book written, an audio drama completed, a new character story that was sent to the artist right now for pictures, and our first song at the printer’s. I can see how what had at one time been the desires of my heart was not the right thing for me this year. Maybe it never will be the right thing. But the good news is that it doesn’t matter.
We get in trouble when we fight against flesh and blood—when what is hindering us seems like people clashing with our personality. I can trust God to work things out for my good. I can submit. If I want the peace of God to rule in my heart, I MUST submit! That’s where peace is.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; Colossians 3:14-15a