What is the hardest thing you've ever had to give up? For me personally, it was the future. Giving up my dreams of life with a guy named Bob, because Bob had non-Hodgkins lymphoma--not the curable kind. Somewhere in my readings about the life of Amy Carmichael, I read about a convert to Christianity from her ministry who shared the mental image of taking whatever we have no words for and envisioning it in the palms of our hands and then holding those hands up to God as a silent offering.
At some point in the 5 1/2 years of the cancer journey with a man I called my "best-beloved," God enabled me to do that. To hold up the broken pieces of life as I knew it to God and to say "yes." All I could manage at the time was to refuse bitterness about those broken dreams.
And so, this morning, if you are facing scary times and what feels like a life-shattering reality, my prayer for you is that God will enable you to hold up those broken pieces.
Here is the excerpt from Streams in the Desert that spoke to me this morning:
Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son... I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven; …because thou hast obeyed my voice (Genesis 22:16-18).
And from that day to this, men have been learning that when, at God's voice, they surrender up to Him the one thing above all else that was dearest to their very hearts, that same thing is returned to them by Him a thousand times over. Abraham gives up his one and only son, at God's call, and with this disappear all his hopes for the boy's life and manhood, and for a noble family bearing his name. But the boy is restored, the family becomes as the stars and sands in number, and out of it, in the fullness of time, appears Jesus Christ.
That is just the way God meets every real sacrifice of every child of His. We surrender all and accept poverty; and He sends wealth. We renounce a rich field of service; He sends us a richer one than we had dared to dream of. We give up all our cherished hopes, and die unto self; He sends us the life more abundant, and tingling joy.And the crown of it all is our Jesus Christ …We sometimes seem to forget … that the only way to the resurrection life and the ascension mount is the way of the garden, the cross, and the grave.
We don't often get to "see" the results of our fearful offering up of lost things, but in the case of my greatest fear, God did allow me to receive a very specific blessing. Apparently I shared the "broken pieces" analogy with one of my children, and about four years ago it came back to me in a song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LkrlFdY85k
Humbling. Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow.
And now ... now I have new things to place in the palms of my hands and lift up to the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Life. It never gets easier, does it.