The Divine Bulldozer

OK, I know y’all are probably sick of me writing about the issue of surrender and unconditionality by now, and, if so, just skip this entry, and go on to the next one, which is a bit more frothy.

But the issue’s come up again in a couple of ways this week, and so I’m writing here because I’m basically using this as a way to work through this personally, and if anybody else gets anything out of it, great.

I’ve come to realize the extent to which, even earlier this year, I thought “surrender” meant using God as a bulldozer. I acknowledge that I don’t have the strength to move the mountain before me. I acknowledge that God does. Therefore I want Him to let me use Him as a bulldozer, His strength moving the mountain with me seated firmly at the controls. And this, arguably, is not surrender.

I learned this lesson the hard way this summer. I had been praying persistently for something that I wanted, and, for whatever reason, it came about, but in a very Monkey’s Paw sort of way, not really what I wanted, but certainly what I had been insisting should happen. The lesson was obvious — “OK, seriously?* You would rather have this on your terms than Mine?”

Since then, as I’ve written ad nauseum lately, the arc of the year has been learning to relinquish control. And that doing so means not only relinquishing it in real time, but also as a bargaining technique. It’s one thing to say, “OK, God, I’m willing to give you control today if it means this happens tomorrow.” But that’s still expecting to be in control of the outcome, if not the means of getting there.

I was talking to someone about my journey through the issue that sparked all of this the other day, and about how God had been using it in my life to teach me these things. The person proceeded to give me a word on the subject, which could have been encouraging, but came with an interesting caveat — there are no guarantees, no promises as to the outcome. I could walk in that word, but would have to do so knowing that not only could I not force the outcome, I couldn’t try to do it bargainingly by causing Him to. I would have to do it truly giving up control, truly unconditionally.

That’s the question He put before me, then — not just in this, but in my life in general — If I don’t know where this is going, and I don’t know how it ends, am I still willing to begin?

*I don’t remember who introduced “OK, seriously?” into my vocubulary, but would you please come get it? It’s rapidly becoming the kudzu of my conversations.

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