It hasn't always been easy for Nancy Guthrie to submit wholeheartedly to God.
Two of Nancy's children—Hope and Gabe lived only six months. Bothdied from Zellweger Syndrome, a rare metabolic disorder. National media called Nancy a modern-day Job.
But when God met Nancy in her pain, she responded by submitting her dreams, anger, and grief to him. She shared her story in talks and books, most recently, Hearing Jesus Speak Into Your Sorrow. She and her husband now host weekend-long Respite Retreats for couples who have faced a child's death.
We asked Nancy to explain submission (or as she likes to define it, "giving ourselves over to the goodness of God").
What does true submission look like?
Submission involves obedience to the Lord, but it's more than that. It's also an attitude of glad-hearted openness to God—as if we're putting our yes on the table—before we even know what he has planned or will ask of us.
How can we do that daily?
By trusting God with (not necessarily loving) our circumstances. In the Old Testament, was a great example of submission. In the midst of his difficulties in Egypt, he trusted God with his suffering, betrayal, and injustice. We see this in the names he chose for his children. Manasseh means "God has made me forget all my troubles" and Ephraim means "God made me fruitful in the land of my suffering".
Why do you think Joseph was able to do that?
He believed in God's goodness, which is what we all must do. And we must realize that God's goodness might include some things that we may not necessarily label as "good." Yet God's very nature is the essence of goodness. And when we belong to him, we can trust that whatever he allows he will use for good. That's what makes it possible for us to submit to the hard, dark things he sometimes allows us to experience. Whatever God allows to happen, we can give ourselves over to his goodness, knowing that he can and will use it for good.1