“At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved.”
– Daniel 9:23 (ESV) –
I have been thinking about the words “greatly loved” for the past two days utterly stunned by how loaded the term is.
C.S. Lewis said, “God always allows us to feel the frailty of human love so we’ll appreciate the strength of His.”
I’m afraid of God’s love, I realize.
At least with human love, I know to expect some disappointment.
But with God, He knows what is best, deep in the Heart of Eternity knows what is the most wonderful thing for me, and it is almost never what I think is best.
If I don’t like the decision of the Perfect Heart and Perfect Decision Maker, I cannot argue with the goodness of it because it is always best; I know the character of God, and imperfection and absence of goodness is not it.
I have never asked to wander in the wilderness or walk through tragedy or sit in the unknown to learn what it is to be known by the Knower of My Soul.
I don’t want to be in the dark—I don’t want to not know the plan.
I have no desire to trust Someone Else over myself.
Laying down one’s own will is the farthest thing from easy I can think of—
You mean every part of it, Lord?
And the Loving Voice of the Father never fails to gently remind me that He means every part because if I am willing to let go of all the things I’m hanging on to out on the edge of this cliff of my own will, He will catch me in His great arms and begin whispering things much greater into my heart than my own dreams ever were. He will begin to whisper things I have called impossible and unreasonable because they were when I operated out of my own strength.
“My own strength” is a funny term because I don’t think there is any strength on our own. Even the very air we breath is at the command of the Father. We cannot do even the most basic of things to keep ourselves alive without His sustenance, so who is to say that we have any right to control at all?
I think if we saw ourselves from far away, from an Eternal Mindset, we would laugh at how insistent we are in trying to control things ourselves. I think I would laugh at how hard I was holding on to this tiny sliver of dream and promise that I think I can fulfill for myself. Because right next to me, I would see God trying to take that out of my hand and walk me into this giant field of promise, joy, and dreams, hand in hand with Him, but because I’m so consumed with everything that I am trying to be and become on my own, I’m refusing to drop this tiny sliver.
It makes me think of monkeys—they don’t let go of stuff.
It’s easy to trap a monkey because all you have to do is put something it wants into a place that is small enough for its hand to get in by itself but not come out with the object. They will die sitting there holding food or a stuffed animal in their fist because they refuse to let go of the item even to the point of death.
I think it’s the same way for us, just less primal at first glance.
Whether or not I let go of this little sliver, there is a death that happens. Death to my soul in holding on so fiercely I refuse to turn to God or death to myself if I let go and fall into the greater dreams that the God Who Owns the Cattle on a Thousand Hills has for me and everyone who holds out their hands and says, “Your way” to Him.
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”
– C.S. Lewis –
The marvelous thing about it all is that when we are willing to let go of this little sliver, the more we are willing to submit to the great, perfect plan of God, the more trust He puts in us—we are not robots, we make decisions, and the more intimate a relationship we have with the Father, the more perfect Love we are allowing ourselves to be steeped in everyday, the bigger the decisions and the greater the control and impact He gifts us.
It’s easy to forget that our relationship with God is that—a relationship.
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
– John 15:15 (ESV) –
The more we lean into the friendship of God, trusting that He is the Best Friend, the more we will realize how much He wants us to make decisions with Him.
But we can only be given power by surrendering it.
We can only gain our life by losing it; what a funny idea that is—
To let go is to gain. To lay down is to be raised up. To die is to live.
A strange, strange paradox.
But how Good a God we serve.
He doesn’t give up on us. It’s okay to start small in surrender—what matters is starting. What matters is coming before Him knowing He has made you worthy, knowing He calls you Friend.