Our ministry had titled the year 2020 as the year of Surrender. We planned our annual calendar, and in my mind, our When She Prays Event would be a special day of surrendering. A day in which hundreds of women would run to the altar back to Jesus. What wasn't clear in our vision of surrendering was that it was going to be a year for all to surrender and not just some. What a surprise to all of us when the pandemic hit! I know for me it made me surrender a few things back to God. Boy, oh Boy, there were things I thought I didn't need to surrender! However, when Covid hit our nation, it forced us all to re-evaluate our lives. For some, the impact came early on in the pandemic; for others, it came later in the year. Some lost their jobs, and some lost family members. Many people no longer felt safe. Some of the things I had to surrender this year have been my health, job, finances, agenda, and sense of control.
In 2020, my way of thinking and my sense of knowing God changed. I now have a better understanding of Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”. I now know that I should not try and understand what He is doing or why He is doing it, but rather trust Him through it. I've learned that I should press on. Pressing on means to continue moving forward forcefully or steadily. So even when nothing makes sense, or even when it seems He has failed me or stopped listening to my prayers, I'll press on. Whether He feels distant or close, I'll move forward. Whether there's chaos or calmness in the world, I'll trust Him steadily.
Philippians 3:14 says, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. There is an upward call from God to His people. He doesn't want anyone to be left behind. You see, one day, He is coming back for the church. Are you part of the Church? Have you surrendered your life over to Him? Time is running out and there will be a day where it’s too late to give your heart to God. Those of us that are part of the body have a responsibility to press on! God is calling us from heaven and cheering us on! He's saying press on my daughter, press on my son! You have heavenly rewards with your name on them.
How, then, does one press on? I know for me, I've had to press on in my faith and my service. Last year I have had to deal with scheduling changes at work; I had to learn how to press on when work didn't allow me to gather in the church building. Even if it was behind the scenes, I continued to serve. I refused to become stagnant. I know many churches had to press on while learning to stream their services and adjust to what church would be like in 2020. I had to learn how to manage a ministry virtually when we couldn't gather anymore in person. Also, my husband and I have continued to press on towards our miracle baby. Even though we've been married for 11 years and haven’t seen our miracle yet, we will not give up. Pressing on isn't easy. But it's possible.
Pressing on doesn't mean we don't allow God to work in our lives. Instead, pressing on requires us to find the balance between striving and allowing God to act in our lives. Sometimes, we will need to put forth a large effort, and sometimes a small amount of effort, and at other times we need to step out the way and let God work. The only way of knowing which one you should be doing is by listening and observing. Let's take Daniel’s story, for example. He was thrown in a lion's den. There was no way he could’ve freed himself. He didn't waste time trying to find a way out on his own. Instead, He prayed and watched God work.
I challenge you, my dear brothers and sisters, to fervently seek after God this year, to press through and put in the effort that some seasons will require. There is a reward in heaven for you.