Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Lock

On the door inside my room here in the village, I have a drawing of a padlock, along with the words "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." (2 Cor. 9:8) written above. Why a lock? Because a lock has become to me a powerful reminder of something vital in my walk with Christ.
  Several years ago, while working on a CYT play, I was asked to do some team building exercises with one of the groups. Having no idea what to do, I prayed about it. By the time the evening arrived, God had given me the ideas I needed, including one I was quite excited about.
  After an activity involving a puzzle and a blindfold, I handed the girls a locked padlock, directing them to work together and get it open. They dived in with eager optimism, passing the lock around and tossing out suggestions. Some of their ideas were funny. Some were quite clever. All were wrong. I let them work at it for awhile (it was really quite amusing) and finally asked them to stop. "Do you think you can get it open?" I asked.
  Pause. "No."
  "You're right! You can't! But may I have it?" They handed it over and, turning the knob back and forth, I opened it easily. "So why was I able to open it?"
  "Because you knew the combination."
  Just like I gave them an impossible task in handing them that padlock, the task facing them in bringing the play together- memorizing, dancing, singing, conveying emotion, loving each other with the love of Christ- was impossible. At CYT we are amateurs trying to put together high quality theater, which provides plenty of opportunities to see God work. Even if they could have pulled something together, it never would have had the anointing of the Holy Spirit that we pray for. But though it was beyond their ability, it was not beyond the God who had given them that work to do in the first place. I also pointed out that, in order for the lock to be opened, they had to give it to me. I could have opened it the whole time; I would have, if they had asked me. But they had to let go, and place it in my hands. How foolish we must look, trying and trying in our own strength when the God who made the universe is waiting for us to yield control, so that He might display His mighty power on our behalf.
  There was one more thing I wanted them to see. "So the lock is open now. Would it make sense for you to go down and tell the others, 'Look, we got it open!'"
  "Because you did it," they answered.
  Seems pretty obvious. But how often do we cry out to God in desperation, then take the credit when He answers (in our hearts, if not with our words) as though we ourselves had done something grand?

In my life right now, I am facing situations which I know full well are utterly beyond my ability to navigate. More than that, Jesus Himself said, "Apart from me, you can do nothing." (John 15:5b) I can try and try, but the solution cannot be found within. It's not that I simply sit back and do nothing, for that is laziness. But only when I place my impossibilities in His hands in surrender and trust will I ever see those mountains moved. This simple illustration has had a profound impact on the way I view life. I don't know if the students remember, but I pray I never forget.

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