Yielding to God’s Care and Will
Rev. Dr. Zac McGowen
Road signs are supposed to guide us as we navigate the ever-treacherous streets and highways, and sometimes they are pretty straightforward. Speed limits, stop signs, right-turn only signs… these don’t leave a lot to interpretation. But I find the yield sign to be somewhat challenging. “At what point do I yield to another driver? How close do they have to be before I yield? What if there is a line of drivers and I have to wait? What if I just don’t want to yield?” The yield sign seems more like a suggestion than a hard and fast rule, but given enough time, the failure to yield when we are supposed to will end in a crash.
Yielding can feel like giving up, and we are not very good at giving up—even if it is better for us in the long run. As Jesus faced the cross, we see him yielding to his Heavenly Father’s will over and over again. In John 6:38, he states it pretty explicitly, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” And this follows two chapters where he has said similar things to those around him (John 4:34; 5:19, 30). Of course, in the Garden of Gethsemane, just hours before his death, he asks the Father if he might be able to avoid the suffering, but he concludes by saying, “not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). What is remarkable is that Jesus had the authority and the power to change things. He could have said, “no, I am not going to do this!” Instead, Jesus yielded to the will of the Heavenly Father, and he was able to do that because his focus was firmly on his Father’s care.
When we are facing heavy, dire, or anxiety-ridden situations, it can be difficult for us to yield or surrender to anyone or anything, even God. Yet, when we do, we realize that God is actually with us. The answer to yielding to the Lord: remember his goodness, care, and perfect will by focusing on God’s Word. There are scores and scores of places in the Bible you could camp out to find that kind of comfort, but it can be difficult to know where to start. For me, in those highly stressful times it’s helpful for me to just simplify and focus on one passage a day letting it guide my thoughts, prayers, and outlook on the situation.
If you find yourself in a season of stress and want to figure out how to yield to God’s care and will, the Scripture passages below are a good place to start. There are seven of them; one for every day of the week. They vary in context and outlook, but every single one calls us to remember the power of God, the plan of God, and the care of God. My prayer is that they will help you begin a journey of yielding to the love and will of the Lord no matter what you are facing.
The power of God’s peace helps us.
In moments of fear, God holds us.
God uses moments of testing to strengthen us.
God has worked in the past and will do so again
God calls us to be patient for a purpose.
We can be strong because God is with us.
In the face of suffering God’s presence brings joy.We can be strong because God is with us.
For more on this topic – check out Pastor Zac’s message from Sunday, April 3, 2022.
Rev. Dr. Zac McGowen
Rev. Dr. Zachary McGowen was born in Birmingham, Alabama, but moved all over the world during his formative years. For nearly 25 years, Zac has been preaching and teaching God’s Word, and he loves inspiring congregations to reach their friends and neighbors for Jesus Christ while utilizing technology to communicate the gospel message more effectively. During his years at Florida Southern College (FPC’s neighbor to the north) he led the largest entirely student-run ministry on campus called BEYOND. Since 2001, Zac has served the Lord in the PC(USA), beginning with the First Presbyterian Church, Haines City, Florida, before taking his current call in Lakeland. Zac came to FPC Lakeland in 2013, and he has served on the board of The Fellowship Community, the Presbytery of Tampa Bay’s Commission on Church Vitality, as well as being active with PEACE (the ecumenical county-wide justice ministry). He holds an M.Div from Reformed Theological Seminary and Doctorate of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. Zac is married to his beautiful wife, Julie, and together they have two wonderful children, Caleb and Hannah. Zac likes to spend time with his family at one of the area theme parks (he is a major “Disnerd”), go for a run, stay current on tech-related news, and watch college football – especially his beloved Alabama Crimson Tide (ROLL TIDE!).