My Way or the Highway

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Let us pray for the grace to surrender—not to the forces of disintegration and powerlessness, but to the God who loves us and calls us forward in our faith.

Sometimes I am amazed at how spiritually slow I am. God tells me the truth flat out in his Word, but I am reluctant to embrace it, wondering if it’s even possible to live it out. So I compromise, make excuses, lower the bar. But somehow God manages to move my imperfect heart in the right direction despite my hesitation.

That’s what I thought the other day, in the wake of news that should have upset me. I wanted something and didn’t get it, even though I thought I deserved it. I admit I did have a few moments of pique. But God gave me the grace to turn away from my disappointment, realizing that if this desire had been something he’d wanted for my life, he would have fulfilled it. And if he didn’t give it, then ultimately I didn’t want it. I didn’t need to put my energy into becoming sad or angry or into trying to get my own way. Instead, I ended the day with a prayer of thanksgiving, praising God and telling him the truth, which was that I only wanted what he wanted for my life. I was at peace.

Dallas Willard puts his finger on the central problem that each of us faces: “When Jesus says that those who find their life or soul shall lose it, he is pointing out that those who think they are in control of their life—‘I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul,’ as the poet William Ernest Henley said—will find that they definitely are not in control: they are totally at the mercy of forces beyond them, and even within them. They are on a sure course to disintegration and powerlessness, of lostness both to themselves and to God. They must surrender.”

Today let us pray for the grace to surrender, not to the forces of disintegration and powerlessness, but to the God who loves us and calls us forward in our faith. Surrendering our lives to Christ will be the surest and safest way not only to eternal life but to the best life we can possibly have right now.

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