1 Samuel 1:1-11
1 Samuel 1:17-20
I’ll never forget how hard I fought to persuade my then-boyfriend, now-husband, against entering the military. In the months following our high school graduation, he was in planning, prayer, and dreaming mode. He wanted to join the military and felt a clear call from God, while I was convinced he had heard wrong. Surely he wanted to go into medicine? Maybe teaching? Something with kids? After all, he loves kids!
Despite all my planning and scheming and praying and trying and striving, he entered the military on June 30, 2012. And I was not happy.
Since then, we have endured separations and trials of different lengths, ranging from an overnight trip to a 7-month-long deployment. Through all the ups and downs, I have come to clearly see that the Lord did, in fact, lead my guy to enter the military, and our family has benefited as a result.
One of the biggest ways we have benefited?
Our faith has been built as we have learned to rely not on ourselves, but on the God Who holds us in the palm of His hand.
I feel quite at home with Bible characters such as Abraham and Hannah. Abraham was told to leave his family, his town, his comfort zone, and everything he’d ever known to journey to an unknown land. (Genesis 12:1-4) His God promised to bless and multiply him, but that didn’t make the road effortless or easy. Doubt crept in sometimes, homesickness was a thing, and Abraham was left wondering exactly just how long it would take for some of God’s promises, like the promise of a son of his own, to come to pass. (Genesis 15:1-6)
Hannah’s experience was similar. (1 Samuel 1:1-11) She also yearned for a son, but month after month and year after year, she remained barren. Would her dream ever come true? Would she ever become a mother, or would that hole in her heart remain void?
Likely, each of us have asked similar questions.
Will things go as we want?
Or will we be required to leave our comfort zones, surrender control, and trust the Lord with the results and outcomes?
When, like Abraham, our futures are unknown . . .
When, like Hannah, our souls are overwhelmed with anguish . . .
…will we surrender control to the God Whose plans are best for He sees the end from the beginning?
“I declare the end from the beginning,
and from long ago what is not yet done,
saying: my plan will take place,
and I will do all my will [. . .]
Yes, I have spoken; so I will also bring it about.” (Isaiah 46:10-11)
Again and again, the Lord specifically proved Himself to be Sustainer, Supplier, and Satisfier for Hannah and Abraham. He sent them down roads that would build their faith, He inspired them to rely on Him alone, and He worked in their hearts while providing for their weary souls as they surrendered their idolized control.
And the sweet, tender part of all this?
He will do the same for us.
As we place one step in front of the other, as we surrender control, we will experience, and therefore trust, the goodness of the Lord more fully. As we willingly surrender our “control” to Him, we see Him show up in unexpected ways. We watch Him work miracles. We witness the fulfillment of His promise that He has overcome the world, even as we face tribulations and trials.
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)
Jesus came so we might have abundant life, and there is abundant life to be found on the other side of struggle, yes, even in the midst of, these trials that send us reeling.
“I have come so that [you] may have life, and have it in abundance. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” (John 10:10-11)
Our Good Shepherd Himself surrendered control of His own life to the Father, even knowing it would bring about His death. (Matthew 26:36-39) His death would be the payment for our sins, and in His resurrection, He would restore us to Himself.
Therefore, Scripture tells us, “[f]or the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2), knowing that surrender would bring abundant, eternal life for us, His beloved ones. (Jude 1:2, ESV)
Even when we can’t see where the journey will take us.
Even when it seems the waiting and longing will never end.
Even when the road ahead holds suffering.
take it from a grateful military wife, surrendering control is worth it!
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