It’s difficult for me to leave the outcomes to God. The reality is that I’ve been a control freak for most of my life. I’ve been so focused on achieving specific outcomes that I haven’t had time to enjoy the journey.
And when those outcomes have been out of my reach, I have experienced great stress and frustrations.
Yet, God teaches us simply to trust and to leave the outcomes to him.
There is a profound spiritual wisdom in surrender. It isn’t something that comes naturally to the human heart. We are driven to understand, to control, and to reach goals in our lives. We measure people by the outcomes they achieve.
However, the wisdom of God teaches to simply walk with him, and to leave the outcomes to him. Proverbs 3:5–6 tells you to,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight (Prov. 3:5-6).
The Important Thing is to be Moving in the Right Direction
If you look at this closely, this is telling us that trusting in the Lord means to abandon our own understanding of the way things are or should be, and to surrender to him. It is when we submit to him, that he will make our paths straight.
A straight path takes you to the destination. It takes you to the outcome. However, it is also important to see that here, the “straight path” is the destination. While we live we’ll be moving. The important thing is to be moving in the right direction. All you can do to get on that straight path is to surrender to God.
This reminds me of the children of Israel, when they were trapped between the Red Sea and Pharoah’s chariots. They were terrified because they could not be a positive outcome in this situation. It was then that Moses said to them,
Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:13–14.)
Can you imagine how difficult it would have been for those people to have simply stood still? God was saying to them, “Just trust me and leave the outcome to me.” And we know the rest of the story and how God miraculously saved his people by opening a way through the sea so that they could escape in safety.
Just like the people of Israel, it isn’t easy for me to simply trust and stand still, leaving the outcomes to God. What is meant here is not a literal “standing still”, but a “standing still” of the heart. As in Proverbs 3, it refers to walking through life, trusting in God.
Those Whom the World Calls Failures, God Calls Heroes
The children of Israel at the Red Sea is an easy example to use, because clearly it all works out well in the end for them. But from our perspective, that’s not how life seems to be. All too often, there isn’t a clear way out, and all that confronts us is failure.
I’ll give you an example of this. The prophets who lived and ministered during the final years of the nations of Israel and Judah, didn’t have a great time doing it. I am thinking of prophets like Jeremiah and Ezekiel. They spent their ministries pleading with the people to repent and warning them that destruction was coming their way if they didn’t. Well, they didn’t and it did. I can imagine how easy it would have been for them to have thought that all of their work was for nothing. Why didn’t God bless their work if he had asked them to do it for him? They don’t call Jeremiah “the weeping prophet” for nothing! And tor many people, this is true to life.
It’s important to realise that God’s perspectives are not our perspectives, and his timeframes are not ours. Those whom the world calls failures, God calls heroes. While we think that earthly death is the end, God’s timeframe is instead eternal. To accept these things is what it means to trust in the Lord and submit to him.
The apostle Paul wrote,
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28.)
I believe that with all my heart. How it works, I don’t know. I’ll just keep on following and serving him, and I’ll leave the outcomes to him.
After all, the outcomes are too big a burden for me to carry.