"I surrender!" - war cry of losers the world over.
I long for God. I believe that all of humanity's experience could be summed up in this one emotion of desire or longing for God. Of course that works itself out in a 6.5 billion different ways (give or take a billion. I'm too lazy to google it). Some people try to smother their longing by embracing substitutes, but they still long after God, even if they don't admit it or even reject him. Humanity was made for God. We all know it.
However, I have trouble with this in the day-to-day of my existence. Last night as I crawled into bed (I'm the kind of guy who crawls into bed and rolls out of it. I believe I'm only at full capacity from about 12PM to 1PM, ironically the time of this entry.) I noticed Don Piper's book 90 Minutes in Heaven lying nearby. Rather than picking it up and looking through it, I opted for loosing myself in one of my mountain bike magazines. And it hit me, "Why so little interest in the afterlife Philip?"
Now I'd definitely label me as a skeptic and critical thinker. So anyone who's been to heaven and back, and writes to tell about it, I'm likely to label a bunch of things like "crazy," "delusional," and even just plain "weird." It's sad I know. But my curiosity is dimmed by my skepticism. I conciously said to myself last night, "His experience probably wasn't real, so why read about it. If it was real, I'd check it out."
And I'm a Christian!!! I believe in the afterlife. My biggest hope is to be united to my father and experience eternity with him. And when an opportunity arrises to learn more about heaven I'm yawning and reaching for a pretty magazine instead. Now I still haven't read the book. I'll have to get back to you on that. But I've heard it's pretty good.
So why, if my central longing is for God and for his heavenly reality, do I approach an opportunity to hear about someone's experience in the heaven with such boredom? Maybe my belief is small. In fact that's what had me thinking last night, "Do you really believe any of this Christian stuff, really?"
I do. But there's times where I'm so saturated in the world that I can't see the Creator for his Creation. And I guess something in me would rather just check out creation. I know it'll never ultimately satisfy, but last night it at least helped me turn my brain off to read my magazine and dream about riding my bike really, really fast.
I'm learning. I'm finding how blind we all are. There are definitely scales on my eyes. My time in scripture is showing me that. Scripture just screams "Cling to God! He alone is your life!"
I'm also learning a lot about surrender these days. Surrendering my little ways to be lead in God's way. I'm far from getting it. Attempting surrender sometimes simply has me muttering in my head, "Stop it, stop it, stop it. God help, help, help." But there have a few occasions where I've taken an action that's resembled real surrender. Hurting, I've called a hurting friend. Scared, I've called an advisor. Yes, my cell phone has been a helpful tool in surrendering to God. Who would have thought? So as much as I'd love to chuck the evil instrument into the nearest body of water just to watch it drown, I'll hold onto it for now.
Surrender and repentance resemble eachother, and they prepare the way for God. Much like John the Baptist calling out in the desert, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is near," I'm learning to say "The kingdom of God is near, try putting down your toy for a sec and obeying his voice." I'm learning that what feels like death is the beginnings of God-life. God's life within me. When I surrender, he never ever drops me.
Watching me walk in God's ways must make a pretty funny looking metaphor. I take one step of surrender in his way, only to take off in a dead sprint towards selfishness and escape. But I'm really grateful these small steps of surrender are happening. And grateful for the extreme speed and efficiency of my God. He chases me down every time and brings me back. For as much as my hunger is for him, his hunger is for me. He doesn't need me like I need him, but wow does he ever love me.
So try surrender, it works.