I’m going to be candid here…I started writing this morning after praying a bit. Here’s how that one started “I LOVE the Bible.” Now, I probably will finish writing that at some point…but God (kindly) led me in a different direction. And this new direction is a little different…um, it’s about struggling to, uh (tapping fingernails on table), about struggling to trust (cough) God. Yeaaahh. Can we please go back to how much I LOVE the Bible? Please!
You know, this all started after getting home from Women’s Bible Study at church, when I was unloading the dishwasher. May I insert here–is nothing sacred?? Come on! I don’t like to struggle…with anything really. Especially with surrendering “stuff” to God. But, I am. I was determined to be pretty quiet at Women’s Group this morning. Well, quiet about myself. I was ok with sharing safe stuff, good stuff, but “can I puh-lease have a week where I’m just normal…not needing to unload more junk”? And it worked…until the end. Then God said, “Share that ugly stuff you are struggling with.” So, I did. Basically, I said, “I don’t really want to trust God or do this His way, please pray for me.” Then, added, “I really don’t want to change the way I feel…so, pray that, basically, God wants to do it my way.” (Ahem. Giggle. I kid you not, that came out. Well that sure sounds Biblical.) Silence. Utter silence. Then some mouths opened, closed, and finally someone said, “So, I’m confused, what do you want us to pray?” I laughed. (Yep, I knew how pitiful I sounded.) I mumbled, “For God’s will.” (And shut my mouth quick before I could add “though I’m pretty sure I won’t like it”…because seriously, I’d already stated that horrid fact a couple of times already and, really, how many times did it need to be said? 🙂 ) Let me add this, I don’t share all of this proudly or to glorify my weakness here. I was recently reminded by a friend how the enemy likes us to keep things hidden, and I’m a little sick of the enemy. So, I’m willing to get a little ugly here. Or at Women’s Group. Being open and real is the first step of surrendering and encountering freedom.
So…the dishwasher. As I unloaded it I started thinking about how convenient it is. Last night I stuck the dirty dishes in there. Poured in a little detergent, shut the thing, turned a dial, and went to bed. Today everything inside was nice and shiny clean. I just had to put it away. And my mind began to wish I could jump into a dishwasher, add some soap, turn a dial, and pop out changed, clean, and no longer struggling with “yucky” stuff. (I feel I should add--do not actually attempt to get in your dishwasher and try this. It will NOT have the desired outcome. 😉 ) Sounds appealing though, doesn’t it?
Question is…would I really want that? Yes, yes, I would. But does God want it that way? Is that how He set things up? So, again, would I really want it that way? I think we get confused about our role a little. I know I do. I tend to see it as the dishwasher (God being the dishwasher in this case) does all the work…or…I do all the work. Either one or the other. But what does God’s Word say?? Here’s just a taste…
We: Obey His commands (John 14:15), deny ourselves, take up cross, and follow Him (Matthew 16:24), be transformed by renewing our minds (Romans 12:2), think on noble and pure things (Philippians 4:8), put our flesh to death (Galations 2:20, 5:24, Romans 8), etc.
God: lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:11), is always with us (Matthew 28:20, Isaiah 43:2, Deuteronomy 31:8), became sin for us so we could be made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21), was tempted but did not sin and is able to sympathize with our weakness (Hebrews 4:15), loves us (John 3:16), gives us victory over sin (1 Corinthians 15:57), offers freedom (John 8:36), etc.
It’s not really all God nor all us. It’s a bit of a combo, isn’t it? That’s really pretty amazing. We get to work with God. Wow! Back to my struggle…I’ve been thinking a lot about Paul and the struggle he describes so well in Romans 7. Then yesterday a friend reminded me of those verses, as well. I think I need to read it daily for awhile. We do struggle at times, don’t we?! Oh, I can struggle and fight for awhile but I always end up at the same place. Kneeling, then lifting my hands. Acknowledging that He is God. Lord of my life and submitting to His authority and will.
Sometimes my mouth opens. It needs to close. Sometimes my ears ignore. They need to listen. Sometimes my flesh awakens. It needs to die. Sometimes my feet remain planted. They need to move. Sometimes I get knocked to the ground and I want to stay down for the count. I need to rise. Sometimes my eyes look around. They need to remain fixed. Sometimes my heart gets icy cold. It needs to melt. And sometimes I don’t want to surrender to God’s way. I need to humbly surrender.