"If deep in our hearts we suspect that God does not love us and cannot manage
our affairs as well as we can, we certainly will not submit to his discipline."
Elisabeth Elliot, Disciplne: The Glad Surrender
Since I started reading this book last month, I am working through it one chapter per week, reading it a couple times through, so that the principles of discipline will sink in. Discipline is about so much more than I thought. I've always looked at it as being more in line with self-control, but the reality is that discipline has significantly more to do with responding to the love you've been shown by intentionally doing what will make the giver of said love pleased.
As I re-read the words Elisabeth Elliot wrote this morning, it reminded me of something I heard a pastor's wife say many years ago at a women's event. Essentially she shared that we often hold back parts of our lives to God because we are afraid that if we submit everything to him and tell him we'll do whatever he wants, he's going to send us off on some obscure journey or ask us to do something we would never in a million years want to do.
First of all, she was right. Second of all, as right as she was, we should all realize just how ridiculous that logic is. And third, the lack of distrust this reveals in our hearts is pretty frightening.
When I think about the things I am having a difficult time releasing to God's control, it really is evidence of an extreme amount of distrust. And sadly there is absolutely no basis for that response. God has shown himself faithful to me in a thousand different ways through both answered and unanswered prayers. There are things that I could have never imagined would be as good as they are, and there are things that I will forever be thankful he didn't give me because in retrospect I'm certain they would have made me miserable.
So why, when all we need to do is look at the cross to see evidence of his perfect love that casts out fear, do we withold what is sure to bring us the abundant life Jesus came to give us when we release it? And the answer? I have no idea because it truly doesn't make sense. At all.
But if I had to take a guess, I'd say it's because we honestly think we know ourselves better than God knows us, and that we truly believe we know what we need more than he does. And I say this because we question everything.
The older I get, the more I am coming to realize we simply cannot love God with a divided heart. We can give him 99.9% of it, but until we hand over that last .1%, he will continue to pursue the remaining part with everything he's got. Considering that he's undoubtedly stronger and more patient than me, I don't have a chance. And that's a really good thing.