Photo by Zachary Hickson http://zacharyhickson.tumblr.com
I think every Christian has, at least once, prayed this prayer: “Lord, I surrender my life to You.”
But do we really know what that means? Do we really know what “surrendering our lives” means?
I recently came upon a piece of paper that I had written on, back when I was in my mid-teens. It said (well, I had said), “Lord, I am willing to open up to You every single room of my life. Everything, except my love life! Lord, please, just let me have this this room to keep private to myself, and You can have everything else. Let me decide on everything in this room.”
Well, God is a God who doesn’t force people to hand over their lives. He doesn’t force His way into hearts where He is not wanted.
Oh, I didn’t throw Him out of my life. I still prayed, and asked Him to guide my paths…my studies, my career, my ministering at church, my future, etc. I even asked Him to guide my decisions in love, and I asked Him to lead me to my future husband. In fact, I asked for Him to bless me in every decision I wanted to make in life. I simply wanted to be the one to make my own decisions regarding love and marriage and romance. I wanted to make all the decisions, and I simply wanted Him to bless those decisions.
To me as a teenager, God was nothing but an afterthought. He was the “therefore” to the paragraphs I could not finish. He was the “period” to the sentences that I wanted to be certified true and correct. He was the perfect camouflage in every situation; the perfect excuse; the perfect justification. Whoever questions the authority of God, after all? I brought God into equations and conversations just because things seemed more legitimate and “right” if I slipped the idea of God into them. I thought of God each time when it was convenient and it served my purposes, and promptly forgot about Him when I didn’t need Him to win my arguments.
“Are you praying about someone?” guys who have been interested in me have asked over the years.
“Oh, no, I only want what God wants for me,” I would always reply.
“What a godly young woman!” they each would exclaim.
The truth was that I had always been praying for different someones, but I would never admit this to anyone, especially not to the guys who were interested in me. One, I had always wanted to keep my options open. Two, I had not wanted to commit to anyone or anything.
My mouth was always uttering “God.” I used God as a shield. And yes, God is the Shield. But how I used Him as my shield was messed up.
How shallow. And admit it or not, most Christians today are very shallow. We have a “God” when it serves us, when we’re asking for something, when we’re overjoyed, when we need to have a convenient excuse. But in the mellow moments of life, in the everyday moments, we live as if we were in a separate compartment, and as if God only existed in that other place.
As if we could shut Him out.
That’s our way of doing things, if we were being honest with ourselves. We like the convenience of it. We like saying the word “God” at church because people would think we’re spiritual. We like saying the word “God” as a curse word when we’re out with our university buddies because they’d think it was funny and cool. That’s our way. That’s my way. That’s your way.
But the problem with things going your way is that things will never always go your way, in the long run.
We’re just human. We’re not all-knowing. And because we don’t see everything, our way will eventually turn out to be a mistake. Our decisions will eventually turn out to be faulty. Today, things our way might seem good and right. And yes, we might know “cause and effect.” But the thing is, we can only see so far into the future. Our view is limited by our humanity, and sadly, we can never predict where our decisions today could lead.
Something might not seem so bad at the moment. In fact, it might seem, feel, or look really, really good. Short term might look downright amazing. It might even still look amazing two years down the track. But what about the other little details that you overlooked? What about thirty years down the track? What about the little consequences that don’t feel like much today, but will all bundle up together in the future? What about all the curveballs you never saw coming?
What happens when you wake up and realise that you’ve made a mess of things, or that one seemingly tiny consequence that you did consider ten years ago had now crept up on you and has you gripped on the neck? What happens then? It might be too late.
It might not be too late. But you would have lost so much precious time. You would have lost a significant time of your life. And that is something that you can never get back, no matter how hard you wish, and no matter how you repent.
In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Open up each door of your life to God. Surely the God Who loved you enough wouldn’t do any harm to that room. He won’t wreck it to bits. He is a very gentle, loving God, after all. In all your ways. All.
Choose the harder road. Choose the harder road that most Christians do not.
God promises to be your Tour Guide if you do. It might start off difficult, because you cannot see the path, and it seems very long. You might want to take off the heavy backpack, raise your hands up in frustration, and declare, “That’s it! I’ve had enough! I’m going home.”
The road upwards always starts off that way. But you’ve got the Tour Guide, Who keeps on reminding you, “The view at the top is worth it, it’s worth it. Just a little more.”
Just a little more waiting, just a little more enduring. Just a little more denying yourself of rest, or sleep, or water, or that thing that satisfies your flesh. Just a little more. The view at the top has no hidden consequences or surprise booby traps. God doesn’t go, “Take this, but ooohh! Wait, bwahahaha! There’s a catch.” God isn’t devious like that.
The view at the top is always worth it. Prove Him.
The blessing of the LORD, it tmaketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.