By Bryn Rademaker
Have you ever heard of the phrase: “Man makes plans; God laughs,”? It’s quite the saying, and let me tell you—it’s unfortunately one of the most true statements of all time!
I had the joy of experiencing quite the laughter of God a few months ago. On a mission trip to the city of Prague in the Czech Republic, I had the opportunity to work with a small group of middle school students. Our goal was to study Scripture with these teenagers, to unravel how the Holy Spirit really speaks to us through Bible stories and how to apply His words to our life. My partner (a college friend of mine named Trevor) and I planned out everything: the exact questions we were going to ask, the responses we should have been expecting, and little stories to relate to the Bible passage we chose as our discussion. I remember being so PUMPED to go super deep with these teens and to learn about how God was changing their hearts. Being the American Bible study leaders we were, Trevor and I had only experienced small groups where everyone shared about their personal lives—we had no idea what was in store for our shy group of Czech teens…
After sitting down and reading the parable of the farmers and their till, I asked the first question: “So, what do you all think of this story? How can we relate it to our lives today?” … *Cue the crickets and pin drop.* Nothing. Trevor and I looked at each other, letting the awkward silence and tension grow bigger and bigger, unsure of how to approach the situation.
It was then that I realized how little we had allowed the Lord to take charge of our planning the small group discussion—we were so fixated on our own expectations for the group that we had totally forgotten to give it to the Lord and to pray for His guidance!
The definition of “abandon” is “to give up the control of.” Our culture today says that everything is up to us, that we have all the control and that all authority belongs to our personal choices. We can so easily buy into those lies that we are powerful enough due to our own pride and lack of trust in God.
I was reminded of this in that small Prague classroom—we thought we knew exactly what those teenagers needed at the time, how they would respond, and how to get them to understand through our discussion questions. The reality was that in that moment, we tried to take over God’s desires for the small group, and it turned into an awkward disaster. Thankfully, once we allowed the Lord to lead by all saying a prayer together to break the silence, God’s grace flooded our conversation, and He allowed a fruitful and relatable discussion to freely flow between all.
“Live With Abandon” by the Newsboys is a fun, catchy reminder to give God the control and to accept the plan He has in store. I first heard this song on the radio years ago and was blessed to see Newsboys perform it live a few weeks ago in Rochester, Minnesota at their Newsboys United Tour concert. They do an awesome job of spreading the truth of God’s love by belting out the humbling lyrics of this song:
“I wanna live with abandon; give you all that I am.
Every part of my heart Jesus, I place in your hands…
There’s gotta be so much more to life than this, a higher calling that I missed.
I want my life to count, every breath…”
God so beautifully wants us to understand this message: the more we abandon and surrender to Him, the greater our lives will be. We were actually created to fulfill the Lord’s will—that’s why we only become happier, more satisfied, and fully alive when we say and do as He desires.
My encouragement to you this new school year is to strive to do the Lord’s will, to give him everything in complete abandon. Even if it isn’t a desire that’s on your heart now, I can guarantee that if you ask him to increase your love of His will He will make it happen. He may just surprise you with more joy and fulfillment than you can imagine.
I leave you with a super awesome Prayer of Abandonment written by Bl. Charles de Foucauld:
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.”
~Newsboys is a hip Christian rock band composed of two different groups of band members since it originated in Australia in 1985. This year of 2018, they all came together for their Newsboys United Tour across the world, singing older and popular songs from before the band-member switch of 2009 (such as “It Is You,” “He Reigns,” and “Shine”) as well as recent ones composed from the new band (including “We Believe,” “You Are My King,” and “Jesus Freak”). You may have seen the band highlighted in the God’s Not Dead films singing “God’s Not Dead (Like a Lion)” and “Your Love Never Fails.”
~Attached below is a video clip I took at the Newsboys United Tour Concert in Rochester, Minnesota of the “Live With Abandon” performance on July 28th, 2018. *Note the excitement on my friend Olivia’s face just before the chorus.*
Photo taken by Bryn Rademaker of Isabel Thurston in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.