I’m only eight years old, as an … acceptor of Christ. I date that age to three specific events of divine intercedence. The first, of conception perhaps, was when I stood in shock, finally seeing what I had just done to myself. I felt as if I’d been spiritually slapped to life. In the second, when I was thinking I was abandoning life, Christ appeared, gently scolding the attempt to flee, and then took my place, quite literally. He showed me how love is done. Then the third, moments later, was when I did, in fact, confess all and agonizingly cry out to Him. It was then I truly and deeply – to my core – experienced, “Your will, not mine. I no longer can care what you decide to do with me.” At that instant I was saved, and born anew.
Today, remembering the intensity of my Christian birth, I realize that there were two parts to my coming to complete abandonment of self: an increasing understanding thankfulness at being truly loved, and a full, utter surrender of every scrap of myself – including all fear, avoidance, or thought of controlling how, when – or even whether – “I” would end. I now can gratefully accept His never calling me home – or being taken before I finish writing … I proclaim, “I follow You, Lord and Savior, to any end.”
There is, I have found, absolutely no greater affirming feeling than coming to know The Creator and His love for me. This awareness started as the tiniest spark of “what if” what they say – what God says – is real? That flame caught on the tinder of ample evidence – people, places, and things constantly turning out just right. An infinite list of provision. Miraculous blessings. Every ‘impossible’ circumstance that He pushed me or pulled me through. I hesitatingly ventured to trust, and consistently everything (sometimes eventually) worked out for the best. Soon I chose to be dependant on it. It is fact: I am still here, alive and somewhat well, despite many incredibly difficult situations (far too many of which I myself made that way).
It was because of this – that I was the cause of so much of my own trouble – that the guilt and shame remained as an open, visible sore to be picked at. The pain became unbearable, until it was greater than my fear of change, of giving in. I had tried to escape it in every way. Yes, every way. Yet He kept me. And He intervened. And then, only then, was I ready to confess and accept all. “Confess and accept all” sounds so much simpler than it was.
How can I describe the complete acquiescence of every bit of pride, of self-preservation? The unhesitating able-ness to freely admit how far I had gone, how low I had fallen? It was an uncaring desire (if such an oxymoronic emotion is possible) to be free of who I was, of who I had let myself become. The only way – the only thing I wanted – was to let it all go. Let it all out. “Lord and Judge, do with me what you will.”
He responded with the biggest miracle of all. And left me in slack-jawed awe, more grateful for this one act of unconditional love than all that had happened before or has happened since.
I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.
So, then, I can truly appreciate the meaning of James 5:16:
So always tell each other the wrong things you have done. Then pray for each other. Do this so that God can heal you. Anyone who lives the way God wants can pray and great things will happen.
Oswald Chambers puts it better than I can:
“…once you do surrender, you will no longer think about what God is going to do.
“Abandonment means to refuse yourself the luxury of asking any questions.
“And once you do get to the point of total surrender to Him, you will be the most surprised and delighted person on earth. Go will have you absolutely, without any limitations, and He will have give you your life.”