I’m often surprised at Christians who say you shouldn’t bother with the Old Testament. Certainly, no one should ever begin there. The Old Testament isn’t easy reading, but contains a valuable and poignant story–a story relevant to today’s problems. A Father trying to help his children and to provide for them. Children grumbling and demanding more. A Father angry and betrayed. An intermediary begging for mercy toward the children. A Father showing mercy, only to begin the cycle again.
God answered our cries over and over again. God provided for us over and over again. Yet, when he asks for our fidelity and trust, what do we give him? When he asks us to surrender to the wonderful plans he has for us, what do we do?
We love to be in control. We love to make our plans and execute them. Rarely do we surrender to God, but the rewards in surrender are priceless. The comfort. The peace. The serenity. The freedom. The Casting Crows song “Just Be Held” states it beautifully:
And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held
Every time I let go of the results and let go of control, I find myself enveloped in peace and love, and the results exceed anything I could ever imagine for myself. God does not give us what we deserve. He gives us love, mercy, and joy. He gives us the Kingdom of Heaven over and over again regardless of how many time we walk away.
How many times have we walked away? How many times have we complained about what we don’t have rather than be grateful for what we do? And how does God answer? When we let him take over, he gives us far more than we deserve. Even when we don’t act like it, he treats us like beloved children, providing everything we need to grow and to flourish.
In a recent Girlfriends in God, Mary Southerland shared a prayer and an activity, both of which I found particularly helpful in surrendering myself to God:
Father, I come to You – broken, shattered and desperate for You. I come to You in complete surrender. Please lift me out of this pit and show me the way, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Psalm 40:1-3. “I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”
Circle all of the “action” words in these verses. What does God ask you to do? What does God say He will do? Do you believe Him? Are you willing to let Him be God in your life?
It is easy for us to take control and try to fix things ourselves, but it never works out as well as when we can surrender to God and give it to him. When we wait upon the Lord, he always hears us and shows us the way. We just have to be willing and faithful.