Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Giving it Up

As I make little ant tracks on this earth,

I create a concept of what my life should be like,
how God should work things out for me.

And when the river of my life encounters rapids and roaring waters,
and other events that frankly rail against all common sense,
it's easy for me to be taken aback: God why have you allowed this?

But I'm giving it up. I think it's in my best interest.

The God who made the ants and rivers and every layer of this richly detailed universe
is the God who does what He pleases. Yes, He is loving and gracious and kind.
And He sustains me daily. I can't possibly understand all his kindnesses toward me.

But, lest I forget, He is God. He Does as he Pleases.

Take Mary. I'm positive she was completely shocked and confused about the developments in her life. Not only did she embarrassingly turn up pregnant before she was married, she had to ride a donkey while very pregnant and give birth to a baby in a stable. It makes no sense. But I really believe she had given it up: "I am the Lord's servant... May it be to me as you have said." ~Luke 1:37

She could have kicked, she could've screamed. Instead she gave it up.

I notice this same response with many of God's chosen people:

When faced with talking to the king and risking her own life, Esther surrendered: "If I perish, I perish." She held on Loosely but Didn't Let Go.

When responding to Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego hotly retorted: "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” They definitely gave it up. I love those guys.

Take Jonah, however. We're studying him at church right now and being reminded how he held on to Jonah's will. He didn't feel like taking the trip to Nineveh and he really despised the Ninevites, so "Jonah ran away from the Lord." As we know, things got worse for Jonah. What really gets me about Jonah was that after he had finally obeyed God, he held on to his own bitter will. He waited outside the city of Ninevah, hoping to see calamity fall upon it. But when it didn't he was "greatly displeased and became angry [with God]." Jonah's final words of the book are "It would be better for me to die than to live." How sad. Give it up, dude. How different the book of Jonah could have been.

It sure is easy to see the err of Jonah's ways, but the irony is that I live my own life like Jonah. Questioning the things that happen in my life. Such as, I prayed to be a missionary (in college I really did surrender my life to mission work), but I'm living a very secular life married to a basketball coach. Huh? That makes no sense Lord. And as far as basketball goes, I would think it's in God's perfect and pleasing will that the ORU basketball team, who holds up the banner of Jesus, would win each and every basketball game we play!!! Ha. Not even close. It doesn't make sense. There are also numerous unbloggable things about my life that just don't make sense. And in the lives of many, many of my Christian friends.

I haven't dared to mention the number of those who loved God in the Bible and beyond who died awful deaths because of their profession of faith in Christ. Now that just does not jive with my idea of what God would do. Yeah, I'm having a hard time getting that, and in my human mind, maybe it's not possible to understand.

But with God's help I'm giving it up. God is God. He does as He pleases.

I think this attitude will be strengthened by a three keys:
*An understanding of my place, God is God; I am put here on earth as his humble servant, doing whatever it is he asks.
*An yearning for my real home, earth is temporary, heaven is forever.
*A belief in God's love enormous for me, and how in the end God's plan is perfect, even if that doesn't mean perfect as we understand it.

I can't think of a better thing to give God for Christmas than my stubborn will which wants my own way. I want to give him my heart that says, "I trust You, I love You and I submit to You, even when things don't make sense."

3 Wonderful Responses:

Kathleen said...

I heart this post!

Shannon said...

Very hard for me not to be a Jonah...great post Annie!

momof4kr said...

Your final line, "I trust You, I love You and I submit to You, even when things don't make sense" is just what I needed to read. There's some stuff that I don't know if I'll ever understand...that continues to cause so much agony...but, as I press on, and push myself to keep my eyes on the cross, I am able to continue forward. I'm so thankful to have you to take this crazy little journey called life! xo