As followers of Christ, we are instructed in Matthew 16: 24“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
When we surrender our lives to Jesus (for that is what it means to be a Christian) He will put his finger on certain things in our life and say “this I require of you.” For the rich young ruler who came to him asking “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Jesus didn’t answer “bow your head and say this sinner’s prayer with me. Rather he said “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Jesus was testing Him, for he knew what was in his heart. If he had come to Jesus asking “What can YOU do that I might have eternal life?” he would have been asking the correct question. But the young man had asked “what can I do?” He knew he was missing something… there was more… “What do I still lack?” he asked. Now, Jesus could get to the heart of the matter. What was it that He would put his finger on in this man’s life? What was it that was keeping him from full surrender? “Go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” The call of Christ is the same to us all… full surrender. Whatever you want to hold on to, be sure he will require that you let it go.
Now, my story gets very personal: When my beautiful wife and I wed, we had plans for our future. She was just starting college and was on her way to becoming and educator and I had visions of becoming a great entrepreneur. Children were something we figured we might want one day, but not for quite some time. But we had a clear and unmistakable conviction… God was putting his finger on THIS area of our lives. We were to “let go and let God” regarding children. And so, we chose not to use birth control… as an act of obedience to God. And to our surprise, my wife was able to finish college and get a year of teaching in before our first child came along. Then, just a few years later, our second came along. We had two beautiful, healthy daughters. And so, my testimony was “look at how faithful God has been.” His timing had been perfect. Our plans aligned with His and all was bright and sunny. But then a cloud came into our lives. A miscarriage. A painful, late term miscarriage. “But God, we were obedient” I cried out. “How could You allow this?” How could it possibly be in his plan for this life to grow in my wife’s womb only to parish before seeing the light of day? What was the point? And for years I thought “well, maybe God just wanted to bring us through this experience so we could understand the pain of others who go through this particular trial.” And it certainly did give me more empathy for others in that regard. And so, as the clock of our lives kept ticking on, the Lord gave us more children – seven now. But… we have had other miscarriages too. And so, in the back of my mind has always been the question of why. And God, being the good Father, revealed something from His heart to me. Scripture tells us very clearly that God is the author of life. God’s word tells us “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” – Jeremiah 1:5. And “You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139:13 And so, God asked me “how do I make people?” The answer blew me away. In His divine wisdom, He uses us. The life of every human being begins in the womb of a mother. Even Jesus, the Son of God, began his earthly journey as a tiny embryo – in the holy womb of His mother. And it is only recently that I have come to a broader and fuller understanding of God’s plan in our lives. When God creates the human soul, he does so through the womb of a woman. The miracle of life, the spark of the flame of each of our existence, begins in the womb. And God has a plan and a purpose for every life. Your life, my life, and the lives of each of our children. I pray over all seven of my precious children. I claim God’s plan for their lives and reject the enemy’s efforts to steel, kill, and destroy. But what of the other souls that God brought into existence through my wife’s womb? What is their purpose? The fact is, we are finite beings with limited understanding of things eternal. But God doesn’t look at things the way we do. This life is but a vapor. We are here for just a moment. God chose to bring into existence these children – human beings wonderfully and fearfully created in His image – and He most certainly DOES have a plan for them. He has an eternal plan for them to spend eternity with him. Their voices will join in the chorus of one hundred million angels who sing day and night “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord.” He wanted these children to spend eternity with Him. But His plan for them happened to bypass the cares of this life. He has a plan for each of us, for our time here on earth. But this is just a tiny portion of His plan for us. His plan for us is eternal. I exhort you to “set your mind on things above, not on the things of this world.” For the children of God, He promises a bright future… “They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.” – Psalm 36:8
And so, whatever God puts his finger on in your life today, give it to him with open hands and an open heart. God chose to make you, to form you in your mother’s womb. He has a plan, not only for your life here on earth, but for an eternity with Him. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” – Romans 11:33