Our place as sons and daughters settles our present and our future. It designates us as partakers of the life-transforming benefits of grace. Children who feel secure enough to call God “Abba, Father” are not worrying about securing their own good by their own means. If we strive to make our dreams come true, we cease striving when our greatest needs are fulfilled in Christ.
When Caleb, my oldest son, wanders downstairs in the morning before any of the other boys are awake, embraces his dad, and vulnerably confides in him about his discouragement and need for counsel, he is coming to Troy as a son—as one who believes his father has only good in mind for him. Caleb trusts in Troy’s counsel and seeks his wisdom because he knows his own limitations in making sense of whatever he is struggling with. And so it should be for us with God.
You see, the more a daughter knows the faithfulness and greatness of her father, the more she will desire his purposes over her own plans.
“According to the will of God.”
“According to his purposes.”
Those are sweet—not scary—words to those who trust in Christ.
Sister, striving to secure your good, comfortable, pain-avoiding future is the way of death and soul-crippling anxiety. The swirling and fretting over how to avoid hardship and only experience good is all a manifestation of what is at the core: our desire for control. Yes, we’re literally told by books and movies and podcasts that if we can rescue ourselves and write our own stories, we will have the results we want and the good life we desire. But we’ve bought into a lie.
Can I restate what we see again and again in Scripture? The good life isn’t the absence of heartache; it’s the presence of God, by grace, in the midst of it. Our hope in the midst of hardship is that Jesus doesn’t just work things out for our good—he is our good.
And like the early believers in exile, our “I am from . . .” pales in comparison to “Who I am and what I have in Christ.” The dots in your life can connect in the messiest of ways, or you may not yet know how they connect at all. Scattered and dispersed believers in Peter’s day were told to hold fast to their inheritance in Christ—the grace that was already theirs. What matters most, for us who are walking out stories not yet fully written, is to do the same.
When we replace self-striving with life-transforming grace, we declare that we are not our own, but God’s. And when we are his, his purposes prevail for our good and his glory. The unfolding of his ways is always more than we ask or imagine for those who realize that God has already done the impossible through salvation (Eph. 3:20). If he can cross the greatest divide to secure our place in his presence forever, even the most difficult detours or unexpected changes of plan are not impossible for God to redeem.
Ruth Chou Simons appears on LIFE TODAY this Tuesday. Taken from When Strivings Cease by Ruth Chou Simons. Copyright ©2021 by Ruth Chou Simons. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.