Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Meditation

Ummm . . . where did January go? Wow! One month of the new year already gone. I'm determined to get back on track with blogging. Didn't happen in January, so today is a good day to get started.

This morning I posted Isaiah 61:10 as the verse of the day. When I read it earlier in my quiet time, it reminded me to get my focus off what needs to be done this week and onto the Lord who makes everything possible. And I'm grateful for my salvation. I am wrapped in Christ's robe of righteousness, and because of that I can enter the throne room of God, my Father, and lay every burden at His feet.

Since I've not shared any devotional thoughts this year yet, I want to review what I learned last year about surrender. Every year I choose a word for that year that relates to my spiritual walk. When the Lord directed me to surrender, I balked a little. After all, He'd been teaching me surrender for a long time already, and I thought I had totally surrendered all to Him. Yet I wasn't finding the peace that comes in certain areas.

Well, now that 2009 is over, I can see I had/still have a whole lot to learn about surrender. The Lord is always faithful to allow the circumstances and people to "grow" us into Christlikeness. It seemed that everywhere I turned I was learning more and more about what it truly means to surrender a loved one, a particular situation or circumstance, even myself to Him. In the process I learned much more about God's faithfulness, goodness, and love.

But it wasn't until late in the year that I experienced that peace that exceeds my human understanding. When others began commenting on the peace they could see reflected in my eyes, my face, even my demeanor when talking about the circumstances I found myself in because of the choices of others, I could only praise God for the work of grace He'd done in my heart. I'd asked Him to change the circumstance, to change the people involved; instead of answering that request, He changed me. He showed me it was possible to surrender it all to Him. He's placed a love in my heart that I couldn't accomplish on my own. And most of all He's shown me that He is in control and He is working.

Late last year I was compiling devotional thoughts from Hannah Whitall Smith's writings. In the midst of the deepest trial I've  experienced, when I was struggling with what I knew the Lord wanted me to surrender completely to Him, I sobbed out that I didn't know how. I thought I had, but the situation continued to get worse. My devotions were due to the editor, so I turned to reading Smith's Secret of a Holy Life. And almost immediately came across this quote:

"There is no other way for you but to surrender utterly and to cast all your care on the Lord, and leave it there. You must not think of it or brood over it, but must dismiss it from your mind altogether, except whatever degree is necessary for proper self-care. . . . But if . . . your worst fears are confirmed, then you must bow your neck to the yoke and must accept your life as the very best thing that could have come to you.
            You can only conquer your trial by submitting to it. But if you will submit, it will become your joy and crown of rejoicing. Lay yourself as a living sacrifice upon God’s altar. Say 'Yes' to Him about it all. 'Yes, Lord, Yes. Your will, not mine. Your good and perfect will! I am content to suffer; I am content to be laid aside, I am content to be an invalid all my life, if it is Your sweet will.'"

Wow! It couldn't get much clearer than that. When I followed the advice given, I experienced the peace that others observed later. I'm not perfect, and I've slipped back into "worry mode" several times, but then I remember it's in the Lord's hands where it belongs, and I can go on.

I'm so grateful God is patient with my human frailties. I know my lessons on surrender aren't over yet. But God and I are moving on. For 2010, He's given me a related word . . . trust. Very clsoe to surrender, don't you think?

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