I’ve written before about how God occasionally beats me over the head with a message because He realizes that subtlety is not always my strong suit. Such a message-beating has been underway this week. And I’ve been in a battle over what I’m hearing. As a lawyer, whenever I’m in a battle, I use the most persuasive language I can to win.
So the, sometimes one-way, conversation with God has gone something like this: I hear you, really I do, but you’re just not up to speed on modern day America, God. You have NO idea what things are like these days. That message you’re delivering to me may have been just fine for a mother when there were a bunch of people running around in sandals, no modern-day technology, no universities to get into…but it just does NOT make sense today. Really, we feel very blessed that you’ve given us these precious gifts, however since you’ve now entrusted us with them we’ve got to make some serious coin. These precious children are expensive. There’s no way we could make it with less money. They need top notch shoes to make sure that they’re developmentally at the peak of possibilities. Of course they have to have all the latest books and toys to help them learn. Plus, they deserve fabulous birthday parties and presents so they are completely assured of how much we love them. Um, have you SEEN the latest tuition schedules for private school? They need to go to the best schools in Houston, starting about now, to make sure they can get into the best college so that they can maximize their potential. What kind of parents would we be if we were just running around trusting you for everything and not holding up our end of the bargain? I do hear what you’re saying, but I just wanted to update you on how things work now – what you are proposing is CRAZY.
While I completely believe that God loves me with agape unconditional love, I do think when He sees me running to Him with all my “persuasive arguments” in hand, He must shake His head and say, “Again, Gindi!?!?!” Can’t you just hear Him saying (or trying to shout over me), “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” [Matthew 6] The translation in The Message translates the last portion of that passage like this, “What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. “
The message I’ve heard, about four times since Sunday, is this:
“One of Satan’s most brilliant lies is that if you surrender something to God, you’ll receive something less beautiful in return. If you empty your hands, God will place something less amazing in them. You’ll surrender gold and, in return, receive dirt. This is the lie of chasing your dream: That when you let go of your plans and trust God’s, he will call you into a mission that you will hate.” (Jonathan Acuff, Stuff Christians Like blog)
“Maybe there’s a place in your life that you need to surrender. And you’re holding on so tightly you just can’t let go. Maybe it’s your plans and you have worked them out so carefully and maybe everything is turning out the way you want but something is stirring inside and you know that your plans are getting in the way of God’s…..I can’t think of a better to place to surrender everything you’re holding on to so tightly….let it go, give it to God.” (Doug Ferguson, Grace Presbyterian Church sermon)
“”When we fail to respond to God’s calling, our hearts harden, and He gives us over to what we ‘want’.” (Traci Baudin, Get A Grip On Life bible study)
“I’m not my own, I’ve been carried by You, All my life.” (Addison Road, Hope Now)
So I’m working on it. I’m terrified to even utter a word like surrender when my plans are so firmly in place. However, a wise friend recently told me that if I felt God calling me to action, instead of praying for God to “make” me act, to pray for God to give me the desire to act. So I’m praying for the desire to surrender, and other than that, I’m going to pipe down for a while and let Him do the talking.