Straight from a Trusting Heart
By Lisa Elliott
Many of us in the Christian circle have heard and can perhaps even recite Jeremiah 29:11 that says, “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.” But do you know for sure? Can you say it like you mean it? In other words, are you absolutely convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that God truly has plans for you that won’t harm you and, in fact, will prosper and provide you with a hope and a future?
Although I’ve claimed this verse personally and have spoken this message with conviction, from a speaking platform several times, every now and again I’m challenged to put it to the test in a fresh, updated, new and improved kind of way. The challenge usually comes in the form of a pursuit to consider, a decision to make, or a risk to take that requires not only a step, but a leap of faith in order to grow more deeply in a trust relationship with Him. And I’m forced to put what I’m preaching into practice.
After taking the necessary time to consider the Lord’s invitation wooing me into a world beyond my comfort zone and I take into account the ways things could unfold I finally, but tentatively surrender my will to the One who holds my future, the Keeper of my heart. However, I don’t submit without a fight first.
“What ifs” take up residence in this heart of mine. “Don’t touch that.” and “That’s mine!” escape my heart’s doors as the Lord begins moving furniture around in the living space of my heart. While He places lamps in all the dark corners to illuminate and bring clarity, resistance stands in His way. The next thing I know an unwelcome houseguest called “fear”, who with no regard for my heart’s well-being, tromps through its sacred places, closing the blinds, locking the doors, sealing all the exits, unraveling my peace, tossing truths aside and replacing them with doubts that cramp the living quarters of my vulnerable heart.
As the walls of my heart close in, self-inflicting thoughts assault me and shame overshadows my faith. Ghosts of my past appear out of nowhere impaling me to everything that once was. My age and the stage of life become excuses that restrict my freedom. My hurts, shattered dreams, and disappointments restrain me. And in those moments I begin holding on more tightly to things I deem important, asking what God is asking me to surrender at His feet or put on the altar of sacrifice this time. It’s usually then that the verse from Jeremiah echoes through the chambers of my heart. And the still small voice of the Spirit of God speaks. “Lisa, do you trust me?”
The thing is I do. And I have. With my ministry, my marriage, my children and with my life! However, I’ve also lived enough life to have my trust tested. I also know that living in submission to my Heavenly Father’s will doesn’t necessarily mean a care and pain-free existence!
I recently came across a quotable quote by C.S. Lewis that puts words to the fear I’m trying to describe. Lewis says, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
Ain’t that the truth? The fact is, in every situation in my life, God’s faithfulness and His loving mercy have led me, His rod and His staff have comforted me. He has guarded my heart and mind with His incomprehensible peace. In His presence I have found unspeakable joy! So my heart can say a resounding, “Yes!” He has a plan for my life. A plan to prosper me, not to harm me. A plan for a hope and a future! I simply need to trust Him with my life, regardless of how painful it is. His plans are always for my good! And ultimately, that good is to make me more like Him!
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” (John 14:1, NLT)
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org