Back in September I had a friend undergoing some struggles and I wrote a few things down that I thought would be an encouragement…but I wound up never actually sending it to that friend. After listening to Pastor Zarlengo’s message today and Pastor Erdvig’s last week, I felt it was just as suited for me today, than it was for my friend a few months back. I am writing them out here in hopes that they will be an encouragement to someone else, as I know many are facing the same mountains of surrender that I am and my friend was.
“Being disappointed is a part of being human. It’s an ever powerful reminder that God’s ways are not man’s ways. We’ve all faced them. They are often the result of recognizing a promise from the Lord and then trying to fulfill it by our own means and failing miserably at it. The most potent example I can think of comes out of the story of Abraham. Abraham and Sarah both recognized God’s promise of an heir and went about making it happen, yet God had His own plan.
After Abraham slept with Sarah’s maidservant, I’m sure there was much regret on many accounts. And then to know on top of that, that it wasn’t even a part of God’s provision for an heir…it must have been a heartbreaking disappointment. This is because our desires for the fulfillment of God’s promises are from the Lord, and when that promise is not answered right away, we try to start answering it ourselves.
But Abraham learned the art of doing God’s will to the point that he was willing to let God take Isaac’s life. Promises belong to the Lord and they are His to give and take away. He had learned that God’s will ought to be done, as far as His promises were concerned. He laid Issac down on the altar. He was in perfect submission to God at this point. Where he had spent so much time trying to impose his ways on God and his rationale on God in the past, Abraham had learned: even when I don’t understand what God is doing, I know His heart is good, and although I don’t understand His ways, I will pursue them.
I’m sure it wasn’t a hallmark moment for Abraham. I’m sure he wept and questioned God all the way up Mt. Moriah. But the Lord knows that it is not beneficial for any of us to have something that we aren’t willing to put on the altar for the sake of the Lord.
The Lord doesn’t want you to put things on the altar that don’t cost you anything. He wants those things that are difficult to surrender. He wants that thing you’ve been trying to deal with in your own way. The Lord wants you to leave that altar with a greater dependency on Him. Dependency is learned on things that cause us to realize we are finite and don’t have an answer. When we’re willing to surrender it’s because we realize God truly does know best. His plan doesn’t always make sense to us, and often it isn’t very easy. But the Lord is faithful and patient to extend His hand to the doubting Thomas in us. He knows we need to grasp His heart and be reminded of His great love for us.
Dependency isn’t easy, but it’s what we’re called to and it’s humbling and so very necessary in allowing God to have His way in our lives. And the enigma is that it may have felt to Abraham as a weak moment because of his struggle to lay Isaac down, but the point of his willingness to lay down his son’s life was probably the strongest moment of Abraham’s life.
The Lord truly does make himself perfect in our weakness. To be fully surrendered to God is the strongest place we can be, although we are at our weakest human point. The Lord sees your obedience and blesses you for it and His promises will come to pass, but they will come to pass in His way and in His timing. He doesn’t need our “suggested routes”, or for us to point out the “fastest route” or the “cheapest route”. In fact, often He will choose the route that costs us the most, because that is the route He will be the most glorified in and we will receive the most from. The route where we are accomplishing His will and kneeling at His feet, adoring Him for His goodness and faithfulness because we are so utterly and fully dependent on the Savior who died to ransom us.
Surrender becomes easier when we remember that God Himself knows the cost of surrender. That He required surrender even from Himself. See…we need to stop equating our surrender with just the pain and hardship it brings. Out of God’s surrender came the greatest victory the world has ever known! It ushered in God’s plan. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.
God knows how hard it is to surrender. He’s not calling you to surrender simply because He wants to be glorified, or because He gets a power high from watching you stumble over the loose rocks on the mountain side, but because it is the catalyst to victory, power, and strength in your life. And that is the outcome He wants for you: victory, power, and strength.”
It’s funny how we know these things, and then how months down the road they become so real in just a short moment. I guess I thought I had climbed Mt. Moriah already…but I’m finding maybe I just took a breather on the way up. So here it goes. Back on the trail. Thanks for paving the way Abraham. I owe you one. And to my friend, I guess I should start eating my own advice, rather than giving it out so quickly.
Good luck on your climb up the mountain side.
And I don’t know exactly where He’s leading me but I will trust His perfect plan
– Journal Date: June 21, 2014