Earlier this year my husband and I embarked on a 3-day cruise to celebrate our 12-year anniversary. On the first night in our cabin, intense fear woke me up in the middle of the night. As I looked out our window I could barely see the ocean waves. I was worried the ship would sink and rehearsed the emergency exit plan in my head.
The lack of control I felt from being on the open water paralyzed me and it didn’t help that I wasn’t fully awake. Were we crazy to take this vacation and entrust our very life to the captain in charge?
That experience got me thinking about faith and how often we can feel like we’re losing a sense of control when we place our trust in Jesus – who we can’t see on a daily basis.
When Jesus called Peter and Andrew to, “Follow me,” (Matt 4:19) Scripture says that immediatelythey left their nets and followed him. They left their comforts, all that was normal in their trade as fishermen, and what they could control.
I’m guessing they weren’t thinking: At this time and on this day, the Messiah will come out of nowhere and meet us where we’re at…They were not expecting that at all. But that is what happened. Jesus came out of nowhere into their lives and met them right where they were.
Peter and Andrew handed over their life to the One who was greater. They surrendered their life to become a learner of Jesus even when they didn’t exactly understand what that meant.
The truth is that releasing control of our life is the means by which we’re truly free and able to experience deeper intimacy with Jesus. Even as much as our hands want to hold tightly to what we think provides security, Jesus tells us where our ultimate hope is found:
“Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” – (Matt 10:39)
The truth is that I love holding on tightly to my life (my loves, wants, wishes, desires, needs) and thinking only about my inner circle. Yet Jesus calls me to something better. He calls me to seek His kingdom first and then all these things will be given. He calls me to step out of the boat and join him in his mission of winning broken and lost souls for eternity. He calls me to love, selflessness, and servanthood where he’s placed me. That can be both scary and inconvenient.
Placing our faith in Jesus can be terrifying because of the unknown. What will happen if I diligently follow Christ with my life? How will I learn to deal with stresses if I go to Jesus instead of my current coping mechanisms? Does this mean anything for my personal goals and career? What will people think and say when I try to engage them with the gospel? And the list goes on…
When you surrender, Jesus gives you new desires and tastes. What was once pleasing and attractive to your eyes will not be anymore. The intense desire to please others and find your identity in material things begins to lessen. Your mission is no longer self, but to serve your Savior. You become more concerned with living for eternity rather than how many “likes” you have in a day.
You’ll begin to find joy and excitement from continually asking the Lord, where can I serve you today? What can I give away for your kingdom? The unknown becomes an adventure.
He’ll also equip you for exactly what you need in the moment – whether that means reaching out to a stranger, seeking forgiveness, inviting a friend to church, giving up an addiction, seeking counsel, changing your circle of friends, opening up your home to your neighbors, seeking healing in your marriage, confessing sin, investing in an “unlovable” person, starting a ministry from scratch, using buried talents and gifts to build the body of Christ, and more.
On the cruise ship that night, I was stressed out. But before I knew it, it was 8:00 am, the sun was shining, and the boat was docking safely to the Baja shore. Even in my anxieties, the captain knew exactly what he was doing and the next night I slept peacefully.
When we release control and trust in God as our sovereign Creator and Father who loves and cares deeply for us, we can rest easy knowing that the plans He has for us are for our good even when we can’t see the future ahead.
Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife, mother to four, and writer in rural Colorado. She’s the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. To read more from Samantha, visit her blog: www.samanthakrieger.com She also enjoys connecting with readers on Facebook and Instagram.