A Battle of the Wills - God's Way or Mine

Today, I attended the funeral of a dear friend and ministry partner. She lived life beside me, encouraged me, taught Bible studies along side of me, shared ministry moments with me and just 'got it.' She got life, she got the sacrifices needed in ministry, she got the necessity of 'life balance' and she got true surrender. She was a great example to me of someone genuinely living out her faith, loving her family and serving her Savior. She was one of my finest mentors.

Our relationship began about 25 years ago, but a deep connection was born after the death of her son - who was one of my high school Sunday School class students at the time. His was a tragic death and one that she and her husband faced with deep pain and eventual peace. I purposed early on to speak of her son whenever memories would come to mind. The funny memories brought laughter, but there were other moments when her eyes would brim with tears of love. We never stopped sharing our love for him and the joy that he brought into our lives. There was a sweet - and usually unspoken - understanding of love and loss mixed with the hope of our heavenly reunion. 

When death is looming, it is not uncommon to hear others question Job's words found in 1:21b that proclaim "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." The initial reaction is either confusion or amazement at Job's faith. How could a man who had lost so much and suffered so long confidently proclaim this huge testimony of praise? I believe it all boils down to one thing. 

Surrender

In the beginning of verse 21, Job speaks of the reality of man's humanity - in both birth and death - and then sums it up with a compelling proclamation of his surrender to the will of God. Now, for many who have been believers for a time, it is pretty easy to talk about wanting to live in God's will. We even end our prayers asking for God's will to be done. But, when we have to come face to face with the fact that God has different plans than we had hoped and prayed for our faith can threaten to dissolve and disillusionment threatens to crush our spirits.

Surrender

It is a blessing of our faith in Christ, but it can take years to develop. Sometimes, it takes a huge tragedy, sometimes it comes in the daily challenges of life. Each of our journeys toward full surrender to our Savior are different, and yet our God is big enough to walk us through the process of fully trusting Him - and His ways - in each and every day.

My journey to surrender came in baby steps. I'd face a hurdle, I'd pray, and I'd eventually release my grasp on my wants and open my heart to embrace God's way. Over time, and with a lot of practice, it became easier to let go of my will and trust that God had an even better plan in mind. But, it wasn't until I was a young mom that God really allowed my eyes to be opened to what I was still holding on tightly to.

When my oldest daughter was two years old, she entered a season of life that included febrile seizures. God brought her back from death and worked in tremendous ways during her first, and longest, seizure. With each episode, over a 3-year period, I was constantly reminded that God was in control. I found peace in the midst of long nights with fevers, starey eyes and convulsions. During each heart-rending episode, I learned to place my sweet little one back into the arms of the One who created her - and loved her more than I ever could. 

About five years later, I personally began having symptoms related to a potentially serious heart issue. The medical aspect of the testing didn't cause me great fear, but I did begin to wrestle with God. I cried out saying, "I don't want someone else to raise my children or love my husband." (Why did I assume I would die? Oh, well, I think it is natural to make that jump!) By God's grace, it didn't take long for Him to gently bring me to a place of peace. In my surrender to His will my faith increased. I knew deep in my heart that whatever God had in store for my husband and my children, I could trust Him. 

Fast forward 20 years, to a day when I was taking care of my oldest grandson and he began to act a little odd. Because I knew the early warning signs of a seizure, I was able to call 911 almost immediately. Over the next few weeks, he had several seizures which were not caused by high fever but from an infection of the brain. The doctors were concerned, which made us all very concerned. We surrendered our oldest grandson's life into the hands of God and did our best to encourage his parents as they walked this hard path. Nearly six years has passed now, and we continue to praise God as we watch him grow and develop each year. What a blessing to celebrate his complete healing!

Surrender

Sometimes God's will is what we dream of. Healing, health and happiness. But, at other times God asks us to walk through the reality of our humanness. "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away." Eventually our lives come to an end. Some dreams are never our reality. And, often times, God's ways are way beyond what we can understand or even hope to comprehend. We prayed for healing and peace for my sweet friend. Today, she's celebrating a sweet reunion with her son and her Savior. In that I can rejoice and be thankful for all the years of friendship she blessed me with. Today, I can thank my God and know that He is in control of it all. Blessed is the name of the Lord!

Do you have an area of life that you need to surrender to your Savior? God created you, loves you and wants the best for you. You can trust Him - but it takes a leap of faith, a release of control and a determination of your spirit. Whatever you may face, God's got it. Just let go and trust Him to carry you.



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