Last night, as my hands were outstretched in praise to the Lord and the voices of about fifty other Moody students resounded around me in praise and surrender to our God, I smiled. As I sang out to my God that there is no other place that I'd rather be than right here in His love, I couldn't help but giggle a little. Suddenly the image of a blank piece of paper flashed across my mind. You may have heard the analogy that in surrendering our lives to the Lord, He hands us a blank piece of paper and asks us to sign our name at the bottom - no disclaimers, no "buts", no strings attached - just simply signing our name in complete surrender to all of the details that the Lord would fill in about our lives. Sometimes, that scares me. Sometimes, I wish I would have signed my name in pencil so that I could go back and erase it. Yesterday, it just made me smile.
God is not a God who is "somewhere out there." He is not aloof from us, far out of our reach, or only there when He has time to be. No, the Lord is a personal God who loves each and every one of us in a personal, intimate, passionate way. When He asks us to "sign our life away", He does not laugh in mockery; He does not sit up on His Throne and laugh a sinister laugh of selfish pleasure, as if He is a dictator pleased that we have agreed to be under His dictatorship.
No, the Lord is Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord who is present with us (Ezekiel 48:35). He is Jehovah-Shalom, the Lord who is our Peace (Judges 6:24). He is Jehovah-Rohi, the Lord who is our Shepherd (Psalm 23:1).
This is the Lord who I serve, the Lord who I love and the Lord who loves me passionately. When I signed my life away, I did it with a smile - knowing that He is trustworthy, knowing that He is always present with me, knowing that He is my Peace, knowing that He is my Shepherd who leads and guides me and wants what is best for me. It is a Joy to know Him and to get to know Him more. The more that I know Him, the more I know whole-heartedly and with full assurance of faith that I can trust Him. And the more that I trust Him, the easier it is for me to relinquish control of my life to Him. When I say that it is a Joy to honor and serve and live for the Lord, I truly mean that it is a Joy.
"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us..." (Ephesians 3:20)
It is an Ephesians 3:20 life, this life that He has given me. Thank you, Kimberly Wagner, for reminding me of this Truth. The Lord has given me a life that I have sometimes been too afraid and too doubtful to even ask for. He has given me a life that I never thought possible. Why? According to the power at work within me... Not power that is my own; no, this is the Power of God. And that is why I rejoice, that is why I smile, that is why I am so full of Joy and Peace. "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).
Of course, there are things in my life that are not easy. There are things that the Lord has had to so lovingly pry my stubborn fingers off of so that I could experience the freedom of letting go and allowing the Lord to have control. There have been times when I was so discouraged, I did not want to get back up again. There have been times when I almost missed out on this Ephesians 3:20 life because of my own doubts and fears. Looking back, I cannot believe that I am where I am today; it is only by God's Grace that I am able to say that the Lord has done "far more abundantly than all that" I "ask or think, according to the power at work within" me....
"...to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen" (Ephesians 3:21).
Amen. May I continue to know, love, and trust Him more as I follow in this path that He has set before me. I am loving living this Ephesians 3:20 life; it is my heart's desire that everyone would experience this Joy and Peace and Love and Life that is in Christ Jesus my Lord. To God be the glory!