One of the things that gets in the way of trusting God in all situations is that we hold onto things we need to surrender. We cling to the evils we’ve lived with for so long – the negative thoughts, the false guilt, the lies that we have out-sinned God’s capacity to forgive. We’ve kept these at our side and played the tapes over and over in our mind for so long it seems impossible to let them go, even though God promises to replace them with his goodness, peace, assurance, and love.we cling to the evil we know rather than embrace the freedom of God’s goodness.
We also cling to good things that we treasure more than anything else including, if we’re honest, our relationship with God. Our actions say, “I will trust God as long as…” As long as he provides me with a good job, with the house I want, with good health and happiness, with close family and friends. The list goes on. What would you add?
We read in Genesis 22 the account of Abraham willing to sacrifice his only son on the altar. He was faced with a crisis of whether to trust and obey God or to trust his emotions and self reasoning. Of course we know that he trusted God and God intervened by providing an alternate sacrifice. Abraham’s faith was rewarded. Faith means believing whatever we place on the altar will be blessed by God.
Maybe it’s time to put something on the altar. Job, income, kids, finding a spouse, happiness, friends, dreams… whatever stands between us trusting God partially and trusting him fully, with complete confidence that he will work good in our lives according to his purpose.
I remember praying for the kids. I’d say something like, “whatever it takes Lord, just draw my children to you. Just don’t make it too painful or too embarrassing,” I’d pray the same thing for myself, “Lord, create in me a pure heart. Rid me of this pervasive sin that I fight daily; just don’t cause me public ridicule or pain.” Finally, I had to pray, “Whatever it takes, Lord.”
We’re conditioned to think that victory is of highest value. But there are some things that need to be surrendered before we can achieve real victory in life. Surrender is a matter of the will. It decides who has control of my life, me or God? Can I really trust God to direct my life or do I think I do a better job managing my own challenges? Surrender means asking “Am I going to go on letting my feelings and emotions lead me or am I going to really live by faith? Which engine is going to pull my train?
In my search, I’ve asked God, “What stands in the way between me and you?” Do I only trust you if things go according to my plan? Romans 14:8 tells me I can trust God whether I live or die. But what about that in between place where I am not fully living and thriving and yet not dead? Can I trust God for that too? I was recently talking with one of the overnight staff who commented about trusting God even though her dreams are not being realized. “And still I will praise you, my God” was her faith-filled response.”
Is is there something in your life that needs to be put on the altar and surrendered completely to God? Perhaps you’ll pray along with me:
Search me, God, and know my heart:
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
– Psalm 139:23-24