Thursday, February 23, 2012

Before Surrender

from Tuesday: before  ~
I am not surrendered, and I feel it, all this tightness that won't relax.  I don't know what I should do, is my excuse to not surrender.  Do I surrender to something that God allowed but didn't want?  Or did He want it?  How can I know?  And while I don't know, can't I surrender to this gift-life that God has made for me?  I jerk back again, familiar tightening as my heart pulls back from the pain.  Take this pain as a gift?  Surrender to this God who hurts me? 

Love is certainly not all about getting.  I think this as I ponder the way I love others, and the ways I feel alone.  And when I chose to love these friends, I knew there would be pain, and I decided to give love, to sacrifice.  Love doesn't demand a return.  God loved me this way, this self-giving whether I love Him well or not.  And it hasn't occurred to me that I must choose to love God, to give love, to sacrifice, to be wounded by Him because I love.  I felt that loving a lack-less God would not cost.  If love is not all about getting, and all I do is get from God, then I am not loving. 

The invitation is there, and I'm wrestling on the edge.  I don't know what loving God looks like.  I don't know what it will cost, to show love to a God who has anything He wants.  It is, the Scriptures say, a fearful thing to fall into these hands.  And I am afraid.  Who says love ever has to know before it gives, how much?  I grieve that I don't love Him.  I plead that He will give me a passion for His glory.  I ask for His mercy, though I don't know what that means. 

My mercy-pleas hope that He will remember that I am but dust.  Maybe then He will expect no more of me than dust, go easy on me, be gentle and shallow.  Such is not the salvation I want, the redemption that inspires my faith.  It is to God's credit that He has chosen to transform dust.  I hope I will remember I am dust, so I will trust Him who is the treasure in this earthen vessel.  The treasure transforms the vessel.  I am born of the Spirit, set with the Son of God in heavenly places, heir of the lack-less God.  Would I want to be left as dust?  Do I despise His mercy so much as to deny its work?  Would I deprive the God I love of the joy of seeing His sacrifice accomplish its intent?  Though I doubt, He is faithful, unable to deny Himself His well-purified Bride. 

Surrender isn't what I expected.  Maybe I thought it would mean being sent, and employed - maybe I thought surrender was more getting of what I want: the satisfaction of a meaningful adventure-life.  And maybe surrender is letting go of the things that I actually care about.  Maybe I thought I would choose what to lose, that it would be this me-exalting expression of my love: that I choose to leave behind chocolate or bookshelves or the world I have known, all to prove I love God.  God doesn't need me to prove my love; I won't impress Him.  He knows if I actually love.  Getting credit for my love is not what love's about. 

And maybe I've been there before, surrendered, loving, content, sincerely yielded to His whatever will.  Maybe that was before I knew Him this well and saw how little I really know Him.  What do I need to know about God to love Him?  What do I do with this back-of-my-mind taunt that it is foolish to love a God who isn't good, who isn't just, who isn't faithful?  I argue loudly that the only begotten Son dying an excruciating death was not a ruse.  I remind my back-of-the-mind-me that I know I am not wise or all knowing.  I'm doing what is right, to fight the lies and doubts.  But all of it is reaching to understand first, before I surrender. 

after ~
More than one friend this week has quoted to me Jim Elliot’s famous admonition: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”  I decided that it would be wicked to wait to surrender.  I cannot keep my control or my pride anyway, praise YHWH!  And in giving these things, I have received release and joy.  Thanks is the exercise of continual surrender, and over the past few days I have taken refuge in thanking God for the painful things.  His mercy endures forever. 

To God be all glory.

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