By Beth Winze
I believe that at some point in a Christian’s life, they stumble across a Bible verse that adheres it’s every word to that person’s soul. If you read the title, you can conclude what mine is. Funny thing is, when I was little and we had the “share and tell” time in Sunday school, I was never allowed to share that verse, because people viewed it as a “cop out” verse – along with John 3:16, Romans 8:28, and Proverbs 3:5. This aspect was confoundly irritating to me, because I had to find a Bible verse that was not too common but had to apply it to my life the same way Jeremiah 29:11 fit. Trust me, the Bible has thousands of astounding verses that are applicable to my life, but the way Jeremiah 29:11 sat in my heart, the way it sounded when spoken, and the very words that made it up, stirred up an inner peace in my soul that no other verse did.
Throughout my life (all nineteen years of it anyway) this verse has changed shape and meaning depending on what I am currently going through. It became my mantra in my early high school years when I struggled with figuring out who I am, it was my slogan when people inquired what I was going to do with my life after high school, it was spoken out loud the day I stepped into my dorm room and dropped my bags on the floor with tears in my eyes, and it was prayed four days ago as I opened the palm of my hand and surrendered control back to Christ again.
This summer I will be moving to Costa Rica with Western for one month to study two Spanish courses I need and also learn the culture, economy, and population as well. While I am beyond excited for this, I am equally terrified. I was presented with the opportunity on a Tuesday a week and a half ago and was signing papers on Wednesday. The trip hit me in the face and God made it clear that this is what He wants me to do with one month of my summer. Being financially responsible for some of my schooling, I dedicate my summers to working my tail off in order to come back here. So when the price tag of $4500 flashed for the trip, IN ADDITION to what I need to earn just to come back here next year, I screamed. (No literally, my roommate asked if I was okay.)
Since two Tuesdays ago, I have done nothing but sign papers, go to meetings, and attempt to wrap my mind around where I am going to get $4500. Since I am a naturally anxious person, one can only imagine how much anxiety I have gone through in a matter of a week and a half. On Wednesday of last week, I came to an all time low. I felt like a pressure cooker that had been running so long, that I burned out, HARD. I couldn’t stand anymore and quite literally fell to my knees. I found myself broken, frustrated, and spent at Christ’s feet. Right there I told Him that I was done trying to hold my own plans together. Every single thing I did without relying on Him unraveled leaving me with a larger mess in my hands then I started with. I handed my plans, finances, worries, and anxiety to Him in that moment and got up leaving it at His feet.
The next day as I was sitting through my interminably long Human Biology lecture, I received a text from my mother requesting me to call her as soon as I left class. I called her as soon as I could and she informed me that my tax return was over $1000. I originally anticipated a $300 return. And earlier in the week I had been mailed a card with a check from a precious couple to help me as well. Today, when I checked my mailbox, I had received yet another card with another check in it that I had not expected whatsoever. In a matter of five days, since I completely surrendered my plans and this trip to Christ, I am now able to pay in full for my $500 deposit and have leftovers to start to make up the rest of the $4000.
To say that I am overwhelmed would be an understatement. I have relented control before but never in the whole hearted emptiness I felt last Wednesday night.
Not for one second will I ever regret getting down on my knees and surrendering all to God. Since I made the last minute decision to go to Costa Rica in June, God has done nothing but opened doors and provided means of raising money in ways I could never imagine. I refuse to go through life avoiding surrender to God, because He does His best work through our complete handover of control!
Famous Christian figures have even realized just how powerful full surrender is to Christ.
“Now we cannot…discover our failure to keep God’s law except by trying our very hardest (and then failing). Unless we really try, whatever we say there will always be at the back of our minds the idea that if we try harder next time we shall succeed in being completely good. Thus, in one sense, the road back to God is a road of moral effort, of trying harder and harder. But in another sense it is not trying that is ever going tobring us home. All this trying leads up to the vital moment at which you turn to God and say, “You must do this. I can’t.” – C.S. Lewis
“You cannot fulfil God’s purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans. ” – Rick Warren
“If my life is surrendered to God, all is well. Let me not grab it back, as though it were in peril in His hand but would be safer in mine!” ~ Elisabeth Elliot
Just when every door seems to be closing, God opens windows. Honestly, just surrender.