Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Surrender All?

                                                            (artwork by Marilee Miller)


.A twenty-something blogger recently wrote of having just entered a graduate-level, almost-a-year study course.  But already, he feels torn about “the right steps to pursue next year”.  He supposes he ought to complete a graduate degree at a prestigious university.  Yet at this time he doesn’t consider a higher degree  as a requisite to advance his career, but as a possible route toward being well-informed, a good communicator, and “wise”.  He pictures a future that involves serving others, dialoging with them – especially about Jesus Christ -- and reaching out with his own two hands to help attend to the physical and spiritual needs of those who are often overlooked.

In his conflicted interests, his fear is that he will “just be”.  Just a writer, not an exceptional influencer through the written word.  Just a businessman, a servant, not reaching his hopes of changing many lives.  He says he pleads with God desperately to show him his will.  He seems so afraid that he’ll blow his usefulness to God by making a wrong choice somewhere down the line.

My “take” is that he’s trying to control an outcome himself, when really, only God is capable of bringing this about.  It’s all very well to make what plans we’re able.  But when we obsess about only certain activities pleasing God – “what do I have to do next year, and the years after that, to become useful to God?” – that can be a trap.  Perhaps God wants us to “just be”.  Perhaps we need to focus on what Christ has already done for us, instead of what we might be able to do for the sake of his Kingdom.

Yet how like the young man, I can be!  I say “I surrender all to Jesus.”  But then I wonder what will become of me if I run out of money – or health – or the ability to pray.

If the Lord has in mind for this man a career that involves more education to accomplish, he’s capable of laying on the young man’s heart to continue in school.  Maybe the very instances where I’m concerned about my needs possibly not being met, are gifts to build up my character, honesty, perseverance, and absolute dependence on him.

I’m trying, though human enough to not always succeed in my efforts, to give all circumstances into the hands of God the Almighty One.  If “all Scripture is God-breathed for edification and correction…”, then let me cry out to him when I become afraid, certainly.  Let me express my grief and sorrow that life hasn’t turned out the way I’d hoped it would.  But then let me rely fully on his own faithfulness.

“The gospel is bearing fruit and is still growing (by its own inherent power)…”  (Not by my intentions at all.)  “For as part of God’s sovereign plan, we were chosen from the beginning to be his, and all things happen just as he decided long ago.  His intent has always been to adopt us into his own family, by sending Christ to die for us…”

Well, God can see the whole picture, even though I can’t.  So if all things happen as he decided long ago, then maybe I can relax that God is getting me exactly where I need to be “in the wide kingdom of his will.”

I’m aware that I come back to this same theme again and again.  I keep forgetting who I am in Christ, and who he is in me…

“Christ in me is my only hope of glory.”  “He has filled us with himself, the author and giver of everything everywhere.”  Maybe if I repeat the words often enough, my heart and spirit will finally get the message
(c 2012 by Marilee Miller)

This post is shared with "Seedlings in Stone"  and "The Wellspring"

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  1. Perhaps God wants us to “just be.” This is a lesson worth learning, but it doesn’t happen overnight, or in our timeframe. Sometimes it takes a long time to lose our attachments, our ambitions, and to die to self (ego).
    On conflicted interests… most often it’s the call of the world that lures us toward achievement, while God’s call is to the wilderness where, like John the Baptist, we become just a voice crying in the wilderness. I don’t know. Many – included me - are still struggling with the tension of the opposites: between the tendency to seek acceptance by the world and the requisite rejection by the world required to enter the kingdom.

  2. I'm often getting ahead of God on these matters too. If only we could just "be still and know God." Thanks for this reminder. Great post!

  3. A really stunning piece. I think often we "want to make a difference" but that translates into "Making a difference to a lot of people with popularity and influence."

    I believe, as you say, we are simply called to obedience. Just do the right thing and let God deal with the results.

  4. What a wise reminder to all of us...I can relate, Marilee...God keeps reminding me that what is most important is my relationship with Him...cultivating intimacy with Him because it is His life within me that then bubbles out as He directs...blessings, Marilee, and thank you :)

  5. Such good thoughts here, Marilee. Often times I feel guilty for just the opposite--how I love to "just be" with God and sometimes I wonder that it isn't a selfish thing. Shouldn't I be trying harder? But you know what? All that I ever feel is affirmation. How our good God loves when we come close to Him!

    Thank you for your prayers, my friend. They mean so much.

  6. Ah, Marilee, this: “The gospel is bearing fruit and is still growing (by its own inherent power)…” (Not by my intentions at all.) “For as part of God’s sovereign plan, we were chosen from the beginning to be his, and all things happen just as he decided long ago. His intent has always been to adopt us into his own family, by sending Christ to die for us…”

    I truly needed to hear that today--*thank you*.

    I really liked what David had to say--~chuckle~yes, we tend to want to make a difference so that "right people" can see us making a difference. I often think of Mother Teresa. I doubt she was so caught up in the conflicts we are. I think of her in the slums--she wasn't concerned who the "right people" were.

    Thank you for your comment last week at my blog--it really touched me--your words were filled with kindness that my heart needed to hear. I hope you might come by for a beautiful story at my blog by Emily Wierenga and help me celebrate the release of her book today. I'm doing a giveaway over there. Blessings.

  7. This truly encourages me, Marilee. It is important message to "just be." resting; waiting; breathe. And also an important reminder to keep repeating the eternal words, so maybe we'll finally get the message (instead of giving up on them, and on ourselves). I'm thankful that we can encourage each other and others in this way here though blogging.


I would rejoice greatly to receive a comment from you, thanks.