Ah yes, surrender. The moment when change is possible. And may I add, it is the maximum moment when change, and turning toward our destiny is possible.
In his lecture, Learning in Wartime, C. S. Lewis wrote,
You would be surprised if you knew how soon one begins to feel the shortness of the tether, of how many things, even in middle life, we have to say “No time for that,” “Too late now,” and “Not for me.” A more Christian attitude, which can be attained at any age, is that of leaving futurity in God’s hands. We may as well, for God will certainly retain it whether we leave it to Him or not. Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment “as to the Lord.” It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or grace received.
Learning this lesson has come only through frustrating years of trying to live in the future tense. It is easy to long for the fulfillment of a dream so much, that you miss the beauty of now, and what God is doing in the present. But Lewis is right. Though we may long with all of our heart for some future outcome, God is always beckoning us to not forsake His presence here, in today.
How difficult it is to surrender the deepest longings of our hearts.
Yet, that is when the peace comes.
That is where God meets us.
It is in our absolute surrender that the seeds of change are sown. Then, and only then, is change toward destiny possible.
You cannot change your future by trying to live there. You can only miss what God wants to do in the present.
It is in the ordinariness of today, and accepting where you are, and what God is doing now, that you grow toward His future purposes for tomorrow. Trust me. Wrestling with God only delays where you want to be.
This I have learned from experience.
Our greatest peace comes when all the heart’s longings are surrendered to a God who knows His “perfect times” for us. Those maximum moments of opportunity and our moments when the greatest changes can take place. That is when moving forward toward the destiny He has planned for us is possible.
Dreams have MUCH joy. But also (at times) much sorrow.
You may discover (like me) that this dream everyone believes “fits you so perfectly” doesn’t really “fit you” the way you thought it might—once hoped it would.
No, not at all.
Someday, someone might challenge you to, “Ask for more.”
And in your heart of hearts? You know there is much MORE God has for you. He has created you forHis plan and for His purpose, for His Kingdom.
People will think you’re crazy! Say you’re crazy. (And you will think you’re a little bit crazy, too, sometimes.)
To surrender so much? To just walk away? To lay all these lesser things, these lesser dreams, down?
It will hurt.
But His Voice that is calling to you on the inside where only you can hear is saying,
“There is more… trust Me.”
And so you walk away.
You refuse to fight, quarreling in some sleazy courtroom over nickels and dimes.
Many will say, “You are wrong. Totally crazy! Get an attorney! Fight for what is legally yours! Right is right, after all. Demand your rights!”
But, here’s the thing.
First, the word of God says quite clearly, one believer is not to take another believer to court. [1 Cor. 6:11 Cor. 6:1 English: World English Bible - WEB 6
1 Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?
WP-Bible plugin ] That’s a BIG problem if you’re trying to live out what you say you believe.
Second, I knew in my heart. I was longing for something more than this “little dream” could provide. I had been feeling that something was missing. A big something.
I was longing for more than mere money. I wanted purpose. Eternal purpose. Intangibles, with eternal significance.
So, my choice seemed clear to me.
I released my smaller dream believing for God’s MORE.
I let The Takers in my life, TAKE.
Without a war.
It wasn’t easy! It certainly wasn’t painless! You may be so Christ-like you could walk away from your half of a six-figure business, but me? I struggled BIG time, for a LONG-time!
But again, if we really believe what we read in our Bibles, then I knew there would be far-reaching eternal consequences to everyone’s choices.
I will come face-to-face with Jesus someday and answer for mine alone.
I will leave others to answer for theirs.
So I made mine. I laid down this dream-come-true.
ONCE UPON A TIME… I had a little book shop.
The loveliest little shop.
The sweetest, dreamiest, little shop.
(Everyone said so.)
But I laid it all down.
I gave up ALL those heavy weights for A God-Sized-MORE.
“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.And whoever does not carry their cross and FOLLOW ME cannot be my disciple… In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Luke 14:25-27, 33-35Luke 14:25-27, 33-35 English: World English Bible - WEB 25 Now great multitudes were going with him. He turned and said to them,
26 “If anyone comes to me, and doesn’t hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he can’t be my disciple.
27 Whoever doesn’t bear his own cross, and come after me, can’t be my disciple.
33 So therefore whoever of you who doesn’t renounce all that he has, he can’t be my disciple.
34 Salt is good, but if the salt becomes flat and tasteless, with what do you season it?
35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Jeremiah is a great friend of mine. We have spent many days together talking about God and our dungeon experiences.
He comforts me. He sent me notes of encouragement from so many centuries before, yet his frustrations, are as current as yesterday’s battles.
Yes, he is a great friend of mine.
While he pours out his frustrations in Lamentations chapter three, I listen, and I nod “yes” in all the appropriate places.
A good friend does that.
His dungeon is quite different from mine. His—designed for him—mine designed for me. And the God who sees and hears, and knows everything, knows just what we need to get us from anger and frustration, to hope and trust. Jeremiah’s is tailor-made for him. Mine is tailor-made for me.
Your dungeon? Yes, it is tailor-made for you and of God’s knowing and choosing.
I know, you think yours is the worst. Jeremiah thought his was. I think mine is. But no, each one, each captivity is designed specifically for the one it encloses; designed to bring us to the end of ourselves and face-to-face with God.
It is love that closes us in.
Oh, I know. I didn’t think so at first. Jeremiah didn’t either, but after the caterpillar begins to adjust:
⦁ to the tight space
⦁ to the dark place
After he has:
⦁ made his case
⦁ and surrendered his race
⦁ for God’s face
⦁ and finds God’s grace
And he discovers his custom cocoon? His designer dungeon? Though snug in spots, fits him like a glove.
And remember little caterpillar. Though tight and dark your cocoon may be—it is the place where wings are formed!
Father, when life seems to close in around us; when the darkness of despair threatens to suffocate all that desires Your will above all else, then Father, then come to our aid! Remind us in the very tight places, that You love us with an everlasting love, and nothing can shake that. Remind us that this is the very place Your wisdom has chosen for us; our cocoon to transform us; to form wings of destiny for Your plan and purpose.
Oh Abba… help us, when we forget.
I hear You LORD… Your call to climb;
To reach bright destiny’s higher heights.
How do I climb, when hands of mine;
Are gripping baggage from long gone days?
Childhood’s hopes, for what might have been
Your only answer, “Climb or die.”
Climb or die? What choice is that?
What kind of Love can ask me this?
Surrender memory’s darker shores?
How God, with memories deeply planted…
Rooting me – in bitter lands of ash and char.
How can I escape their iron grip?
It is, too hard… You ask, too much!
Voice again whispers, “Climb or die,
Whose Love to you, means more than these…
Dead dreams you’ve lost, with love of self?
Lay down these idols, one and all…
Surrender shrine to injured child!
Child-hopes are gone… now, let them go!
You cannot climb with hands so full.”
This truth I see – and so I choose
To lay them down, to give them up;
These ashen hopes and bitter lies.
What use have I, for useless things?
The past released and must remain,
In phantom mists of days long gone.
With empty hands – with lighter heart,
I take firm grip on Master’s word,
And plant my foot on higher ground.