In three short days, my eldest daughter Whitney and I will be leaving for Taiwan. We are going to visit and support some friends of ours doing missionary work there. It seems like for weeks now, friends have been asking me if I’m ready and have my suitcase all packed. My reply is, “Um no, not quite yet.”
It’s not that I’m not thrilled, don’t get me wrong I totally am. I mean what an amazing opportunity. But I’ve also sensed over the past day or two an anxiousness within myself about the trip. I mean, how does one prepare mentally and emotionally for leaving the country for two weeks? Especially that I am leaving the majority of my family behind while my daughter and I travel halfway around the country?
So this morning I set my suitcase on top of my bed and opened it up. Ah, the first step I thought. There it sits, wide open with nothing in it yet, open and completely empty.
Immediately a picture came to my mind that this is what God wants from us. Kind of like my suitcase lying there, open and empty.
To be open to all God has for us, we need to be emptied of self.
Yet that’s not always an easiest thing to do. We think it’s our life. We think we make our own choices and come up with own plans. But being open and yielded to God is something very different. I am reminded as it says in Proverbs 19:21 . . . You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.
We need to be emptied of self so that we can be filled with Christ. Being emptied of self relinquishes our need to control things. This happens as we daily choose to surrender to God. We do this by living open-handed before him saying, “God all I have is yours and I surrender it to you. Help me to daily live in trusting obedience to all you have for me.”
He wants us coming to him with childlike faith, knowing that he will take care of us (and our loved ones) and to trust that he is working all things for our good. I am reminded that we were created for a love relationship with God, to him and for his purposes. His love is so very worth it all!
So as I prepare to leave for Taiwan, Father God I ask that you help me to unpack my heart of any doubt, worry, fear, or anything that is not of you, empty me. Forgive me for feeling the need to have control of things. Help fill me with trusting obedience and come daily to you open-handed, so that I can take hold of all that you have for me. Thank you for this amazing opportunity and for your continual love and goodness toward me! You are such a faithful God. To you be the Glory both now and forever! AMEN
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.