Remember that moment in Ananias’ life when God told him to go and see Saul/Paul? And how he listed Saul/Paul’s faults as if God needed to be told? Well, I had my own Ananias moment telling God, as if He didn’t already know, why the comment writer was in no fit place to write the comment that was written.
God’s word to me was “Back down! Surrender!” What was it to me what was written, by whom, in response to what? It wasn’t.
I am not intending to make the word “surrender” my one word for the year. I have done these things in previous years and it has turned out to be not for the whole year but a week or two. Much like the usual New Year resolution. I like chasing down the Latin word for these things – so “Ego Deditionem” it is.
The word surrender had been popping up all through last year. I am, in the general and possibly vague sense, surrendered simply because I am a Christian. It’s in the Christian DNA. Sometimes, however, it’s a noun. It describes what I am rather than what I do. Lately God is talking about verbs. He calls me to surrender on some point or another.
Having been around for a while, as a Christian, teacher, preacher, theology degree holding person, sermon-soaker-upper, I have baggage. It’s a collection of knowledge gleaned over the decades. Nothing I read in the Bible, nothing I hear from the pulpit comes without a whole stack of information clamouring in my inner ear. This is the surrendering that God is talking about. He calls me to lay all that stuff down. It may be truth, but not the truth that is needed right for this moment. So I lay it down. Sometimes I pick bits up and hold it up to the light, like some great cut diamond with all its facets. Maybe there is a light there to shed on the situation. I’m not one for throwing stuff away bathwater and baby together. The knowledge if there for a purpose. It’s about not presuming that I already know what I need to know or that I already have the answer. It is hard to lay stuff down. It’s far easier to fall in with what’s already there.
So, last night I surrendered. It wasn’t a quiet surrender but one with lots of muttering. I wasn’t happy that God didn’t see things my way and act as instructed. That’s probably not any kind of surrender at all really. It was not a peaceful surrender.
God’s solution was to put me on to a different path. Ages back, on a second hand bookshop, I had picked up a copy of “A Shorter Morning and Evening Prayer”. Not so long ago I had lent it out to a friend. Even more not so long ago I bought a new copy. What can I say? I like liturgy. Picked it up last night to read and sing and pray my way through a Tuesday evening selection.
Psalm 20 was there with its verse 5 challenge - “May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.” Sometimes, when some people disappoint, like my comment writer on Facebook, we think they don’t deserve their victories – that it’s not fair for some reason or other. But again, God tells me to back off, to surrender, as it’s not my business how He leads another lamb in the flock.
I also read, from 1 John 3, “We ae already the children of God, but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; we shall be like Him because we shall see Him as He really is.”
None of us this side of eternity are the finished article. For all my having been around for a while, as a Christian, teacher, preacher, theology degree holding person, sermon-soaker-upper – for all that baggage of truth and wisdom that I carry, I have not reached the got-it-all-sorted-out point.
In the meantime - ego deditionem