By Kay Brown
Today, I found myself imagining a vivid scene with one of those typically recalcitrant toddlers. You know the kind I mean - the three year-old cherub with the horrid disposition who is being ushered into the doctor's office by a kind, but very firm father. The child was holding his father' hand.
The young, immature child cannot possibly understand why the painful injection is needed. Sadly, no amount of coddling, explanation or bribery will ever convince this child to cooperate, so his father patiently does what needs to be done. Picking up the child, the good father carries him, as he kicks and screams, into the office where the unpleasant deed is done. Finally, the treatment will do its work and the child will be restored to health once again.
Of course, the little child does not even recognize that his life has been saved by his persistent father. He does not realize how great the father's love is to bring him to the place were the treatment could be administered. He might not even be aware that the father has stayed close by his side the entire time, ready to provide solace, counsel and strength to weather the ordeal.
The father never leaves the child. In addition, it is to the Father's hand that the child must surrender before his healing can begin.
Regrettably, I am the obstinate toddler and God is my patient, kind and loving Father.
Although I have lived on this earth for 48 years, it seems I am just now discovering that my level of peace at any given time seems to be in direct opposite proportion to my level of 'but I thought it was buried in my heart' sin. Gently, a friend explained today that all lack of peace comes from our dissatisfaction with where our Father God has taken us. Do we not believe that everything that happens to us is filtered through our Father's hand? I had to meditate on that thought a bit and hate to admit it, but it is true. I do not want to be in this place.
My heart's cry has been, "Christ, I want more of you!" Little did I realize that its deeper meaning would be, "I want less of me," - less of my desires, my plans, my anything. The price a disciple must pay (and indeed pay joyfully) is that of actually following our Lord to the cross and putting to death any and all desire to be our own Lord on any level.
Today, my struggle has been spirit versus flesh, with flesh winning most ominously, most greedily, most decidedly...until at last the Word penetrated:
"I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me..."
Of course, I know what He would do. I know what He already did.
He laid aside everything for me. He paid the entire price, took my punishment so I could be saved. Can I now lay aside who and what I am, as well as what I want, for His sake?
Will I ever know His peace if I do not?
Oh, bitter are the tears that are shed as our flesh dies bit by bit! Nevertheless, how sweet the rest of this child who has finally surrendered and lays exhausted in her Father's arms - sniffing tearfully, yet enveloped in the warm knowledge that her sin is exposed, she is chastised, soundly corrected and yet most profoundly forgiven. For it is only in the complete surrender to His difficult will can we finally know the depths, yes, the supreme depths, of His mighty Creator Love.
Knowing the depths of this love is worth any pain; it is worth any sacrifice of ourselves, so that we may win more of Christ. He brings hard circumstance to reveal and treat our sin-sickness; we must trust His ways, even if they are painful. May we walk willingly and confidently through this life knowing that no matter where He leads us, He will never leave us.
We can surrender. We can be encouraged by His strength. We can boldly allow hope to rule our hearts.
We are holding our Father's hand.
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