If you have studied birth order, then you likely have an opinion about first-borns. My family, of now seven, has five first-borns. Some call us “control freaks”; we prefer “high achievers”. Nine months into marriage I found out that my husband and I were moving to Bakersfield, and that we were expecting twins. That was not the plan! Neither was leaving pastoral ministry in order to enter the Navy, or moving across country, or losing my dad to cancer before he ever got to know all of his grandchildren. My guess is that most of us have experienced unexpected turns throughout life; ones that throw us for a loop, ones that we just can’t control.
In Judges 6, God told Gideon that he would give him victory in rescuing the Israelites from captivity. Gideon had his doubts, so he asked God to show him favor by keeping a piece of fleece dry on wet ground and then the opposite the following night. God did as Gideon requested and that was enough to give Gideon faith that God would provide the victory.
In my early adult years, God taught me a powerful lesson about relinquishing my perceived control. I knew the story of Gideon well, so in an attempt to win God’s favor, I “set out a fleece.” But my dry fleece stayed dry on dry ground. How could this be? I was obedient; doesn’t that mean that God would find favor with me? What I started to realize was that my “setting out a fleece” was just a desperate way of seeking control, and in this, God said no. Following God’s answer of “no”, I struggled with whether or not obedience was really worth it. My malformed perception of God’s character was being challenged. I was equating getting what I want, ie. “control” with God’s love. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that God’s momentary “no” was the most loving and healing “yes” that a benevolent Father could offer. Although heartbroken, there was something in the depths of my soul that longed for God’s will. It wasn’t immediate, but eventually my need for control turned to surrender, and surrender turned to joy.
Mark 8:35 says, “For any one of you who wants to be rescued will lose your life, but any one of you who loses your life for My sake and for the sake of this good news will be liberated.” No matter your personality; giving up control, letting go, and relinquishing your will is not easy. But surrendering our will to our God, who loves us more than we could ever love ourselves, brings freedom, and freedom brings joy!
Abba, thank you for loving me enough to do what is best, even if it requires sadness or suffering. I surrender my life to you with open hands; ready for you to fill them with your liberating joy. In Jesus Name, Amen.
By Lynette Fuson
Director of Women’s Ministries
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