Thursday, November 01, 2007
The Chains That Bind
I will be sixty-one years old this month. For all but ten years of those sixty-one I have been a Christian. I came to know Him at the age of ten. It has been a journey with so many twists and turns because I have allowed fear to overshadow faith and because I have put self before surrender far too often.
A couple of years ago I came to a place in the road where the Lord said that it was here we would deal with these issues once and for all. He put a wall of circumstances in my path that I absolutely could not get around on my own. It was here that we would deal with the issues of trust and surrender. I was powerless to move that wall or to climb over it or to walk around it. I prayed for that – fervently – as I had never prayed before. The wall remained. I became angry and disappointed and decided to walk away. I lived buried beneath the weight of that wall and my self-imposed separation from God for months. I didn’t even pray, but there were others who were praying for me.
I finally came to the realization that even if I didn’t get my way in this thing, I couldn’t live apart from Him. There was nowhere else for me to go. There was no one else to turn to. I had to make a choice to trust – to surrender everything I held most dear – into the hands of a God who seemed so distant. I would have to give up trying to control my world and give it over to Him.
It began slowly, the process of knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is all He has said He is. As I gradually released my tight-fisted grip on the controls of my life, He drew me in. Tears would course down my cheeks as I confessed my own selfishness and willfulness and acknowledged that He is good, loving, merciful, kind, forgiving, patient, gentle – all the time.
He did a work in my heart I cannot explain. One day I realized that where there had been tremendous anxiety there was peace; where there had been a dark despair there was hope, where there had been mourning and tears there was joy and laughter. Oh, what a loving Father He truly is.
I would like to say that from that time on I have been a perfect example of trust and surrender. Oh that it were so. There are so many areas that require my giving up of self and surrendering to His greater purposes. I am continually amazed at the way He works in my life. In my quiet time this morning I prayed once again for forgiveness in the area of self-control. My time, my eating, my service, my giving – they are all areas where I struggle. I always fight that fear that if I completely surrender there will be something too difficult required of me. I also confess to thinking foolishly far too often.
Here is what my little devotional said today:
“All the fears from our sinful nature and all the enemy’s lies are ignited to keep us from helplessly depending on God, who is our life!...In fact, our progress in the Christian life is in direct proportion to the degree we humble ourselves in complete, dependent abandonment up on Him.
Every time we lay aside what we want to do in our flesh and decide instead to let the Lord have His way through our self-giving, a few more links in the chains that bind us are broken. So instead of the annihilation we feared, we are released to live the life we were designed to live.” (Darien Cooper)
I had prayed just moments before reading that, that Jesus would take the chains that bind my heart and tear them asunder. I asked that He would give me strength and grace to walk in the victory that He has already given me. Wasn’t He kind and loving to answer me in such a clear way?
Oh Lord – You have loved me with an everlasting love. I am such an unworthy vessel of such love, but You are molding me into a vessel that is fit for Your service. How I thank You.
posted at 11:25 AM