Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Surrender! Um, Sorta...

What an easy thing to say: "I surrender all!"

But... how?

This thing is
easy to do.

"Here, Lord, I give you this, that and the other thing. In fact, you can have my whole life while you're at it."


"Wait, whoa, hold it! You can't do that! Let me see it, I can do it. I got this."

We "give"-- and then take it right back!

Just like a little child who holds a cookie out, pretending to offer it to you-- and then, just as you are about to close your hand around it, withdraws and eats it, laughing at you.

One minute it's: "I surrender! It's yours, take it!"

The next-- "Oh! No! It's mine, I want it. I want the control."

It's scary, you know. To give up control. To let Someone else direct your life.

Or is it? Maybe... just maybe... it's actually much more frightening to be in control. For one thing, are we really ever completely in control? No. And even when we most feel like we are, do things really go how they ought? No. Do we know all there is to know about every situation? No. Do we have a brilliant track record of always being right? NO. Can we see into the future? No. Do we always know what is really and truly best for ourselves? No. Are there things beyond our control, even when we pretend we are in control? Yes.

So... what? We cling to our flimsy, imaginary control-- making an absolute muddle of the few things we actually can control... instead of letting the loving, good, wise, all-knowing God control it???

When you think about it logically, it really doesn't make a lick of sense. Why on earth wouldn't you surrender everything to this God? The One who gave all for you? The One who created this whole world, including You? The One who loves you more than any other? The One who is ALWAYS right? The One who knows everything? The One who DESERVES your all?

Whatever IS the matter with us?!?

Well... we are selfish sinners. Far too often, our focus is extremely narrow-- almost exclusively filled with ourselves, our wants, our "needs"... And so, in our blindness, we think that in order to be happy, we must hang on to all of this stuff: the things we have, the people we love, the position we fill (or want to fill) in life... we think that if we give it all to God, He might do something awful, like make us do something we're scared of doing or take away someone we love dearly or force us to give away the things we cling to so fiercely.

So... what's the cure? Honestly, I don't know--besides the (hopefully) obvious "ask God for His help" and "you must be saved."

But I have figured out a few things that may help a bit, so I'll go ahead and share those. And if you have anything to add, please feel free! No, feel... compelled. ;) Seriously, I want to hear what you've learned as well. :)

Firstly, I have (finally) learned that surrender is not a one time deal. We must keep giving up our rights. Over. And over. And over. Constantly "resurrender" your things, your will, your dreams, your life... Keep asking God to just do His will with them. They aren't actually yours anyways: why not just say it like it is and "give" them to the One who owns them anyway? It will only help you to focus on Him and on eternity and others!

Secondly, we must focus on eternity. If you focus on the here and now, on this earth... it doesn't make much sense. Because what if God did take away something or someone you loved?? What if following God did hurt enormously?? If this is all there is, it doesn't make sense. Why would you go through that??

But. This isn't all there is, and sometimes things that make very little sense here on earth-- like loving your enemies, or risking your life for the cause of Christ, or losing a loved one-- thus growing closer to Christ-- make all the sense in eternity. Things are measured differently there.

Somehow, I think that once they got to eternity--those people who truly surrendered ALL: their very lives for Christ...  they counted all of the trials and pain and apparent loss here on earth SO pathetically ridiculously insignificant and so very, very worth it for the ETERNAL rewards in heaven.

Listen, folks.

Time is SO, unbelievably, permanently, desperately short and limited. Eternity is imminent and never ends.We only get one shot at this time thing!! There is no retry button! There aren't any "extra lives"! And then... what we do here will effect... forever!!!!

There is NO way we can use our time wisely on our own. We must surrender our lives to Him, let Him guide us!! There isn't any other way.

And how can we not, really?? Think about the message of the video in the last post! He gave His all!

So... to surrender... we must realize our true position. It all belongs to God, really--regardless of what we think. And we don't really want to be in control: God's plan really IS the best one, and He really DOES know what He's doing, even if it seems to hurt us here on earth. The long term rewards are... unfathomable. God deserves our everything: it is only our reasonable service. This isn't anything extra. It's just the bare minimum in response to what He did for us.

Surrender. Rinse, repeat.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Yesterday being Good Friday, I took some time to think about what Jesus did for me in dying on the cross... and, of course, this hymn came to mind. So I thought I'd post it here for you all. Please actually read it and really think about it.

When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died;
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ, my God;
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all. 

This morning I watched the following video (which was sent to me by Rebeka) and thought it went well with the hymn and with the whole point of, well, everything. But especially this weekend. 

Happy Resurrection day!