As Jesus walked beside the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. Mark 1:16-20 NIV
Growing up, leaving high school, going to college, many of us develop a plan of what our future lives will include. Mine was to become an elementary school teacher, get married, have children, be a mom. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
In Mark 1:16-20 we see Jesus calling Simon and Andrew, then James and John to abandon their lifelong plans of being fishermen, to follow Jesus, and be involved daily in Jesus’ kingdom work. This call came as an interruption. It came as complete redirection in their lives. Yet these men surrendered their childhood and young adult plans to Jesus and willingly followed him to do entirely different work.
Most of my friends graduated from college, and were married within a year. I struggled with being single but God used this time in my life to each me to trust in him, to pray about the man I wanted to marry, and leave it up to him to bring my husband to me, in God’s time. I was learning about surrender to God.
Once we had been married a year, we tried to start a family and encountered difficulty becoming pregnant. Again, this was not my plan, but God used this for his purpose. We learned to depend on him, to look to him for our purpose and for the ability to have children. After 3 years of trying and surgery our first child was born. 5 years later our son Joshua was born via an emergency c section. He suffered a brain injury as a result of a cord accident at birth.
Having a special needs child was never part of our plan, but God was with us, and he had a purpose for Joshua’s life exactly as he was. We had periods of time where we wished our lives were different, but this was the path God had chosen for us. When we learned to surrender to God, to his plan, to his word, we could see that caring for our son, his daily needs, loving on him and helping him become everything he could be, was our calling, our job, even our ministry.
What is God calling you to surrender to? Has an interruption in your life plan come into your life? Perhaps God’s purpose is different from your plan. Look for God’s purpose, surrender and follow.
Apprentices of Jesus are marked by being with him, becoming like him, and doing as he did. Try this surrender practice.
By Grace Hunter