Last week, we watched a video put together by our campus ministry team full of interviews of several students and faculty. In the interviews, the individuals were presented with different words Christ spoke from the cross, and they were asked to tell what thoughts or emotions were sparked when hearing those phrases.
After going through several phrases- “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”, “Woman, behold Your son.”, and “It is finished.” to name a few- we came to, “Into Your hands I commit My Spirit.”
We had heard great comments and reflections about all of the phrases, comments that really made you put yourself at the foot of the cross and understand more fully the impact of those words, but this specific phrase led to profound wisdom shared by one student.
When asked what, “Into Your hands, I commit My Spirit” meant to her, she shared honestly, and spoke directly to the heart of college students everywhere.
In essence, she talked about how these words, obviously, signified the physical death of Christ was approaching. He acknowledged that at the point of his physical death, His Spirit would leave His body and be reunited with the Father in Heaven. But more than pointing to His physical death, it reminded her of the submission to God’s will Christ exercised. Not only in His decision to go to the cross, but throughout His entire life, Christ submitted Himself to God and His will. As early as 13, we have examples of Christ in the temple being “about His Father’s business.” His entire life was dedicated to serving God and submitting to His will.
If you’re thinking “Yeah, that’s all fairly obvious. What’s the profound part?” Here’s the kicker.
She took it a step further. “So what does this mean to me? It means that I need to be just as willing to let God rule my life. It means being open to following where God leads. It means walking through doors He opens and not pouting about ones He has allowed to close. Maybe it means saying, “I have these big dreams and plans laid out, but God, I’ll follow where you lead.” Maybe it means going a completely different direction than you ever thought you would be. It’s about saying, “God I really want to be a _______ (nurse, physician, teacher, lawyer, therapist, whatever it may be) but if you lead me somewhere else, I’ll follow.” It’s about being willing to put your own desires aside, and submit to His will, fully trusting Him to lead.”
Hmph. Talk about words you wish you could un-hear.
Those words spoke truth, but they brought conviction with them.
I’m the girl who plans every possible aspect of her life. Before I go to bed, I plan out what times I will accomplish each individual thing on my to-do list the next day. I start planning the outfits I need to pack for vacation weeks before I ever open a suitcase. I constantly calculate time frames for when I need to have things done. I need to know all of the details before I agree to something. I’m the furthest thing from a “fly by the seats of your pants” kinda girl. I despise change. I hate uncertainty. I don’t do spontaneous very well. And anything “unknown” throws me miles out of my comfort zone.
With all that said, the idea of putting my own plans aside and submitting to God’s will is terrifying. Crazy, right? Knowing that the creator of the entire universe is willing to lead me through life should be the most relieving thing in the world. But it’s terrifying.
It’s not that I think God would lead me down the wrong path, but what if it’s somewhere I don’t want to go? Or somewhere that looks lonely, or scary, or difficult? What if it’s dark, or hazy, or too demanding? What if I’m not qualified, or strong enough, or smart enough, or brave enough? What if I’m not ready?
Oh, but what if on the other side of that lonely, dark, scary road, there’s joy, companionship, strength, beauty, and growth? What if God knows you need to walk that path to become a better you? What if He sees the path you have chosen leads to a life that is more destructive than profitable for you?
And as for not being strong enough, smart enough, brave enough……
We don’t have to be enough.
We just have to be willing.
And regardless of how dark or light, scary or beautiful, lonely or secure, the path we are called to walk is, God is always right there walking with us. Dusting us off in failure and cheering us on in triumph.
He is omniscient. And He is loving. He will not lead us astray. And His path leads to life.
It might be uncertain for as far as we can see, but our plans are never fool proof either. It may feel like planning our own life is the safest option, but, when put to the test, that’s merely an illusion.
Can we follow Christ’s example, and submit our lives fully, putting all of ourself into His hands? I believe it’s what we’ve been called to do.
If you’re uneasy about submitting, or fear where He will lead, you’re not alone. But check out these verses. God won’t lead anyone down a path where He doesn’t go with you. No matter how scary the journey, you can take comfort in that.
God will show me the path of life. (Psalm 16:11)
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not lack. (Psalm 23:1)
God will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye. (Psalm 32:8)
My steps are ordered by the Lord. (Psalm 37:23)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him and He directs my paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I shall hear a word behind me, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever I turn to the right or the left. (Isaiah 30:21)
Thus says the Lord, my Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.” (Isaiah 48:17)
The Lord will guide me continually. (Isaiah 58:11)
I desire to do God’s will so I shall know whether it is from God. (John 7:17)
I follow Jesus so I shall not walk in darkness, but I have the light of life. (John 8:12)
I hear Jesus’ voice and He calls me by name and leads me out. Jesus goes before me and I follow him, for I know his voice. I will by no means follow a stranger. (John 10:3-5)
The Spirit of truth has come and He is guiding me into all truth. He will tell me things to come. (John 16:13)
I am led by the Spirit of God for I am a son of God. (Romans 8:14)
It is God Who works in me both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
I let the peace of God rule in my heart. (Colossians 3:15)
I will stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. (Colossians 4:12)
The God of peace will make me complete in every good work to do His will, working in me what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 13:21)