Friday, November 18, 2011

The starting place

Feeling better by the day, though I did have a dream this morning that I interrupted a robbery and got stabbed. I was surprised at how real the pain felt until I woke up and realized why. Still, I'm not thinking with my entire brain so thought I'd cull another post from a journal, this one from October 2007:

"The thing is, submission to God's will is only as painful as two things in proportion--our love for self versus our love for God. To the extent that we love God more than we love ourselves, to that extent alone can we surrender. And loving God is dependent on knowing who He is, what He's about, what He's done, why He does it (even though some of this is always part of the great mystery). In some sense, we need no more than Genesis 1: 26-27, to submit to God--Then God said, "Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created human beings in His own image, in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them."

In another sense, of course, we need Calvary. Self-centeredness is too deep, stained on us, and had to be washed in blood. But WE live post-cross. We get the whole story, and we know--we must know--that His good, acceptable, pleasing will is always better than our own.

I don't say this tritely. I know what it costs to give up control. It hurts and pulls and makes us feel like our skin is coming off.  In a sense, every parent who sends a child off to college surrenders control, to one extent or another, when we no longer get to govern what our child does or doesn't do. But the process begins at birth. At least it should. From the moment a baby makes its way out of a mother's womb, that mother is no longer breathing for the baby. Giving it up to its own life.

But Gethsemane surrender?  Abraham with the knife-raised-surrender? "I am absolutely willing for this--my life--to go any way YOU, God, wish!" surrender? This is a whole different thing. And comes at great cost. Jesus Himself wrestled with it until it made him sweat blood.  Abraham surely trembled when he raised that knife over his son's body.  The point, I think, isn't how hard or long it takes to get there, how much we tremble or shake to release our hold on our lives, it's that we finally do.

So, where I must start is by praying for a hunger, a desire, a WANT for that will, a desire to believe that His good, acceptable, perfect will is better than my own. That's the point I must get to--that I can trust Him. Every time.  If I start with that prayer, perhaps surrender is a natural second step.  And, of course, for a deeper love for Him, which is where it all begins. The pervasive love of God which is the starting place of all things.

This morning, this is my earnest prayer for all whom I love [and all who read this blog].  I pray for a desire not only for "Your Kingdom come," in their lives, but for "Your will" to be their chief hunger, aim, sole desire. I pray that it be their great joy, that their food is to do Your will, Lord. That they will want to surrender to You because they know to the marrow of their bones--in all their varied circumstances--that YOU (and You are synonymous with Your will) are trustworthy. May we love You more, love ourselves less, so surrender is the obvious outcome of our devotion.

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