Monday, July 8, 2013

Dear Somebody

Dear Somebody,

I know that when you look at me getting ready to go to the Philippines, it makes you secretly uncomfortable, and wakes hidden fear. Though you may or may not say it, or even realize it, you are afraid that God will call you to do something similar, and that if you give control of your life to Him, you will end up on the other side of the world away from everything comfortable and familiar. How do I know? Because for so long, that was me. I would read the stories of Amy Carmichael, Jackie Pullinger, or Katie Davis, (not that I would ever put my little trip on that level, mind you!!) and while I would admire their willingness to follow Christ wherever He led, I would inwardly tremble, lest He should call me to a similar path. It's not that I didn't want to live my life to serve Him, it's just that I was afraid He would call me to THAT. I didn't know what THAT might be exactly, but I knew THAT would be painful, hard, and require great sacrifice. The call to go to the Philippines came at the end of a battle to surrender and be willing to go- a battle which had filled the previous several months. I wish I could say that I responded to His voice with instant obedience, but I didn't. He was faithful to bring me to a place of willingness, but it was a fight to get there. My fleshly desire is to stay here where things are familiar and comfortable, and the idea of saying goodbye to those I love dearly for so long is painful. But you know what I realized? As I clung to things and people dear to me, in reality I was holding my own chains. My fear of surrender wasn't keeping me safe, it was keeping me enslaved.  Freedom and peace came only when I finally let go.

Surrender to His call doesn't automatically mean that you will end up on the other side of the world. It does mean that your wants and desires are in submission to His will and His purpose, which means sacrifice. How can someone do that? I am seeing more and more that it is absolutely impossible apart from knowing Him. For goodness sake, you wouldn't leave your purse or wallet in the care of someone you didn't know. How can you give over control of everything to Someone you don't know? Trusting comes only through knowing, which comes only through spending time with someone. As we grow to know Him, the following two things will transform our perspective on surrender.

The first is that God is good. Whether His call takes you somewhere far away, or only down the street, He loves you, and He goes with you. He isn't harsh or unfeeling. His call is not only for His glory, but for our good. Life is hard; you can't escape that. It's part of living in a fallen world. But though the path is not an easy one, He is with us every step of the way- leading, guiding, upholding. (John 16:33) In trusting Him, you are entrusting yourself to the One who knows you intimately, yet loved you enough to die for you. He isn't forcing us to be without something we need; He wants us to be free to find life in Himself- the only One who could ever satisfy.

The second is that God is Lord, our King, and we are His. He is worthy of our worship and obedience. Even if He weren't good, and hadn't given His own life for us, He would be fully worthy of our all. How much more when He has! God is exalted on the throne of heaven. His greatness is infinitely beyond our ability to grasp. He created us for Himself, for His purposes. We are not our own, we are bought with the blood of Christ. When we truly understand the incomprehensible majesty and authority of the One we serve, we can't possibly make another choice. In Isaiah 6, when Isaiah sees God in all His glory, his response was "Here I am! Send me." (v 8) That should be our response as well.

Goodness knows I haven't (and don't) live this perfectly, but speaking as one who walked in fear for so long, freedom comes only from letting go and clinging to Him only. Jim Elliot once said, "God always gives His best to those who leave the choice to Him." There are specific areas in my life where I have so clearly seen this to be true. In other areas I may not yet see how things are His best, but I trust that they are, because I trust Him. Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." That means that the more I delight in Him, the more what I desire lines up with what He wants for me. He knows me better than I know myself, and His plan is infinitely better than mine. Surrender seems scary, but when you fix your eyes on Him rather than the cost, it becomes beautiful instead.

I wrote this letter to Somebody, and I don't know who that Somebody is, but if it's you, know that I'm praying for you!


1 comment:

Rebecca Bentley Hall said...

"As I clung to things and people dear to me, in reality I was holding my own chains. My fear of surrender wasn't keeping me safe, it was keeping me enslaved. Freedom and peace came only when I finally let go." ... I *SO* need to share this with a friend of mine who just days ago said, "I'm so tired of fighting." She is fighting herself from old behaviors and I see those as chains ... I hope you don't mind if I share this blog with her. God is moving in her life in a dramatic way.

I love you, Lindy ... you inspire me ... thank you for letting go to "self" and allowing God to work in and through you.