At some point in our most desperate prayers we have to rally. Because when you get to the bottom of your barrel, when you’re scraping out the dregs, when you have less than nothing, you can see him.
It’s easier to surrender all when we have nothing. And absolute surrender is how we see him. When we empty our hands of all the crap we hold onto, the self sufficiency, the preconceived notions about how things have to be, the justifications, the excuses, the demands, we have room to receive him.
When we stop trying to stuff God into our box, when we stop trying to define the parameters within which he must act, he can actually come in. When we’ve got nothing else to lose, we’re where we need to be — recklessly throwing up our hands in full surrender.
But there’s a difference between surrendering to fate and surrendering to your heavenly father. Fate is cold, random, and uncaring. Surrendering to fate is giving up to a faceless power. Behind it all — even “fate” — is almighty God, all knowing, all sufficient, and all loving.
Offer yourself as a living sacrifice. I marvel that he would want this broken body. I wonder at the brevity and fragility of life. I wonder about the huge question mark stamped over the door of my future. But then I’m reminded that this is how it is for every living thing, only most of us don’t think of it that way, unless life is allowed to toy with us, a cat playing with a mouse.
How much seemingly senseless battering can one person take? Only God knows. The temptation is to embrace this cat and mouse characterization of our situation, that we’ve been given up to a faceless fate.
We don’t see behind the scenes. Like Job we don’t know the back story. We’re not privy to what happens in the board room. We know nothing. So we’re tempted to believe the rumors that we’ve been thrown to the dogs, abandoned.
At times like this, God’s words, the truth, can be painful to read, like rubbing salt into a wound. The mocking voices grow so loud, asking questions we cannot answer. If we let ourselves listen, the words of truth become more hollow and the mocking becomes louder. But the truth is the very thing we need.
We want truth to be an explanation, a good retort to the mockery. We want God to come through and prove what he says is true, put an end to all the taunts once and for all. But sometimes he doesn’t, and his silence just adds more fuel to the fire. God isn’t anxious to rush in and protect his reputation. He isn’t anxious at all. He’s so calm it’s maddening.
The taunts grow louder: “God can be calm because he’s not even listening. He can afford to be nonchalant because he doesn’t feel what you’re feeling.”
In the moment, the words of the serpent always sound so convincing, so true. You know he’s a liar, and yet … .
And yet … we have to yank ourselves back to the truth. Because everything else will drag us down to the pit, tie our hands, and shackle our feet.
And it isn’t so much an effort on our part, or even “seeking out” truth per se, but trusting God’s character, seeing God when we don’t see anything else.
When we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel, all the potential reasons to trust him are stripped away. We’re done looking for the proof, the answers. We simply choose to believe him. And there’s a new life and strength in that choice. This is the place where the enemy has no traction, nothing to work with.
When you’re surrendered to your Creator, you are truly free.