Wow. This chapter left me speechless. God knew my deepest struggle and dealt it a death blow.
And what is that struggle?
I like to be in control of my own life. To be more blunt, I want to rule my own life. Basically, I want to be God.
Hmmm. That sounds vaguely familiar, doesn't it? (Take a peek at Genesis 3:5,6). It really isn't new, so I shouldn't be surprised.
It's easy for me to fool myself into thinking I am exempt from these thoughts. After all, didn't we just take a big step of faith in adopting our Anah? Homeschooling through high school? Staying home instead of earning a second income? Choosing a life of ministry over a career in medicine?
Yes, it was easy to think that because I had taken such big steps of faith that God was really in control of my life. I mean, it looks like it from the outside. But deep inside, it was a different story. And God is not fooled.
Over the past six months, I have desperately been trying to gain some order over my chaotic and messy life. My goal was to make my life manageable again. Being a visionary, I know that I dream big. Together, my husband and I have prayed and waited and watched God move in our lives, slowly directing and shaping a unique ministry for us, which was starting to materialize. Things were starting to come together.
And now, I am happy if I can just get dinner on the table at night. What happened?
I do not like flying by the seat of my pants. Some people may like it, but not me. I want to live my life intentionally and purposefully. I'm Type A all the way. So when I feel like life is out of control, when I am living day to day and scraping by, it's very hard for me. I have begun to wonder if God really loved me or if He was punishing me instead.
As I sat stewing on this chapter, I realized that maybe I don't know God as I thought I did. As Mr. Beaver says in The Lion and the Witch and the Wardrobe, Aslan is not a tame lion. And neither is my God.
Somehow over the years, I have come to believe that if I did what God wanted, He owed me an easy life. After all, that's fair right? I serve You; You take care of me. Of course, I construed that as having a painless, comfortable life, life the way I want it to be.
But that is my problem. That is where I have turned the tables. That is where I have falsely believed that by obeying Him radically, I somehow deserve something in return, not more hardship.
Instead, if I truly loved, trusted and followed Him, I would make no such conditions. I do not make them intentionally, but I realize I expect them, something that becomes very evident when life gets hard. When I begin to complain and whine, my hidden agenda reveals its ugly face.
It is here where Sarah's words find me:
“If we trust God to lead us in His own beautiful path, if we remove our white-knuckled fingers from the wheel, He will take us just where we need to go and make us all that we need to be. To truly belong to Him, we must lay down every expectation except the sure knowledge that He will uphold us. And when you are cradled in the palms of love itself, you don’t have to be afraid.” (emphasis mine)
She writes about her mother's experience of "crossing the bridge" in her devotional, something that I have done more than once in my life. And today, I find that I need to do it again. Perhaps this time it is not a grand adventure, like a missions trip or homeschooling or adoption. Today, it's crossing the bridge from living a life under my control to living a life that's completely under His control. No ifs, ands, or buts. No expectations. No conditions.
This is not about foolishly throwing my life away. It is rooted in a faith in the very nature of God's trustworthiness and character. I may not be sure of anything else, but I can lay it all down because He is sure. He is reliable. He is good. He is all that my heart longs for.
In my journey with God, there are many bridges to cross. Some are little foot bridges. But some seem like delicately arched constructions over gaping chasms. I wonder if I dare trust it. I know that the view is spectacular if I am willing to take that step of faith. But it does begin by choosing to put one foot in front of the other and move towards Him.
Let the adventure begin!
What are some expectations you have of God? How do you respond when He does not meet them?
Are you willing to lay these expectations down and surrender them completely to Him? If not, what is holding you back?