Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
I was patiently waiting for a package to be delivered, so that I could start working on a project. When I received a shipping update stating the package was delivered, I went to look for it but could not find it. I checked every possible place, and then I prayed that whichever address it mistakenly went to, that person would drop it off to my place. Two days later, and there was still no package. Thinking it lost, I sent an e-mail to the vendor hoping we could sort out the issue.
The next morning, the package appeared at my doorstep. I found the timing strange. It felt like God only showed up after I conceded to my current circumstances. I wondered what God was trying to show me, because conceding is often attributed to a lack of faith. And so I pondered: what is the meaning of acceptance, and why was my prayer answered after I gave up hope that someone would drop off the package?
Why Acceptance Matters
I know this seems like a simple situation, not worth giving much thought, but I think God wanted to send me a message. One that I could apply to the deeper challenges in my life, and in yours. And that message is simply… to accept. To accept that all problems won’t be solved today, and that my worry won’t change anything. To accept that not everyone will acknowledge the hurt they’ve caused me, or the pain inflicted. To accept that my current circumstances aren’t what I had in mind, but that’s where I am. To accept that I don’t know the ending, but I have to trust that God is going to do what is best. I can’t force outcomes; I have to go wherever God is taking me.
Nevertheless, I still wondered if sending an email to declare the package lost meant that I no longer had faith that God would answer my prayer with a yes. Should I have kept waiting? And here’s the answer: I could’ve waited three more days to send the email, or I could’ve sent it immediately. Neither option was wrong because it wasn’t about my solution. What was much more important was my state-of-mind. There are no specific rules about how many times we should go to the throne for a particular issue, or how long we’re supposed to wait after we pray. There is, however, much insight on what the reflection of my character should look like when life doesn’t go according to plan.
Insight from the Book of Daniel
If we look to the Bible for an example on acceptance in the Bible, we could reference the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In Daniel 3, we learn that they were faced with a tough predicament. They could choose to bow down to an image made of gold or face death. It’s interesting that we don’t read about these three individuals praying to God to not have to make that choice. Instead, they were willing to stand for God – whether they died or were delivered.
Such a situation shows us why acceptance matters. It allows us to embrace what’s in front of us and take on that challenge with mercy and grace. With acceptance, we’re trusting, but we aren’t giving up or giving in to our situations. We’re making the decision to submit to God’s will, without malice. To go back to my earlier story… for something as simple as a package, it came down to this – either I received it, or I didn’t. Maybe I could get a replacement, or maybe I couldn’t. Yet no matter the outcome, God was in control and we’d figure it out together.
For life’s more complicated issues, it’s important to know that acceptance helps to lessen the worry. If we are willing to accept whatever the outcome is that God gives us, then we are giving ourselves the opportunity to experience a freeing type of trust in God. One without constraints… which also means it’s one filled with a universe of possibilities.
But how do we accept God’s outcomes over our own?
Jesus said in Luke 12:29-31:
“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.”
To get to a place of acceptance, we must believe that God will take care of our needs here on this Earth. If we do, then it’s much simpler to focus on seeking Him first, but I know it’s not that easy. Life’s challenges, compounded with our day-to-day needs, can become consuming when they are a detriment to our happiness or peace. We want problems solved and roadblocks removed as quickly as possible. We like consistency and surety, but we don’t always get what we want.
And so we go to God in prayer, seeking an answer or a sign to provide us with comfort and clarity. Sometimes we’re praying so hard for change that we fail to recognize when God is saying we must first accept. There is power in acceptance because it’s the gateway to growth. Acceptance gives us a clearer mind about what to do next. We allow God’s will to be our driving force as opposed to our original idea or desires.
Finding Peace in Acceptance
In Isaiah 55:8, we read: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. God is plainly telling us that the way He thinks and operates will be different from ours, as they should be. His divinity separates Himself from us. We will not always be able to understand why what is happening is happening.
Nevertheless, if we believe that God is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), then we understand that He has our best interests at heart, and will act on them accordingly. We can find comfort in knowing that our discomfort and pain are temporary, and the sun will shine again. With God, there is peace in knowing we aren’t facing this life on our own. We have the privilege of accepting what is in front of us because it has no control over us. It is God who is the captain of our ship, and no matter the outcome, we’ll always be in His safety and in His love.
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