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Hands Off

by Allison Martin

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29: 11

I wonder if Jacob had high blood pressure. I think he probably did. Or trouble sleeping. Maybe stomach ulcers. My Bible reading plan recently took me through Genesis, and let me just tell you- he stresses me out. And as stressed as I get reading about his life, I can’t imagine how stressed he was living it.

Jacob was a child of promise. It was no secret that he was destined to have great influence. He knew the place of prominence that God had called him to, but he was the younger twin after all. He not only took second place in the inheritance, but also in Dad’s favor. In Jacob’s estimation, God must have gotten a few wires crossed. So he took matters into his own hands.

Both his father and grandfather testified to the faithfulness of God. They had taken leaps of faith and braved mountains of testing. Not once had God failed them. He had fulfilled every promise and guided every step. So why do we find Jacob bankrupting his starving brother? Why the deception and the lies? Did Jacob feel like he didn’t qualify for the same providence that they had? Maybe it felt like God’s promises were past the expiration date, and he was on his own. I don’t know. But early on in his story, he’s helping God out. Manipulating. Scheming. Trying to figure it out as if it all depended on him. In short, messing everything up. The result is the same every single time. Broken relationships. Ruined testimonies. Unnecessary scars.

Jacob was crazy if he thought God needed his interference. And so am I.

I would never say that, of course. But how many times have I taken situations into my own hands because I didn’t have time to wait on God? How many Plan B’s have I thought through just in case God didn’t make good on His promises? How often have I tried to get myself into a position instead of waiting on God to place me there?

I hope the lesson that Jacob learned can bring you some relief as well.

The will of God isn’t something you have to manipulate into happening.

There will be nothing underhanded or sneaky or questionable about it. It isn’t forced. It just comes. In His time, and not a moment sooner. When you’re waiting on Him, it comes just as easily as a tree blossoms at the first signs of spring. As a river effortlessly runs its course, so a life submitted to the Spirit will be guided by the current of the Spirit.

Please understand, we do have a role to play. And it’s a big one. Our job is to keep our heart pure. Carnal motives, jealous thoughts, and worldly desires have to be dealt with all the time. And if you’re anything like me, that will be enough to keep you busy. Meeting the requirements for the promise is our job. The fulfillment of the promise is His.

Friend, take comfort in this truth today- the weight of your future doesn’t belong on your shoulders. You don’t have to lose sleep over how you’ll get in that ministry or on the mission field. You aren’t meant to worry yourself sick over how you’ll find a husband. Don’t disqualify yourself because you don’t have a certain number of followers on social media or a name everyone recognizes. Contrary to what carnal reasoning tells us, you won’t have to throw yourself out there or lift yourself up.

Opportunities knock when you least expect them.

Love finds you when you weren’t even looking for it.

Promises are fulfilled even after you’ve given up on them.

Doors open in what seemed like a wall.

God has been challenging me so much this year through Jacob’s story. I don’t know about you, but there’s some things I need to take my hands off of. I’ll save myself a lot of sleepless nights if I’ll just be still and let Him be God. I don’t know how He’ll fulfill His promises. I don’t know what my life holds. I don’t know how He’ll accomplish His purpose through me. But then again, it’s probably better that I don’t.

God doesn’t need my suggestions. Just my surrender.

The beautiful thing about a life surrendered to God is how perfectly things fall into place. If you’ll let Him work in His way and His time, they will. And who knows? Maybe they already are.

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