Jun 5, 2012

Tuesday SHINE....


Today's Reading: Job 34

Good morning SHINE girls! Are you starting to be a little more intentional and disciplined? 

I'm getting there. Slowly but surely. 

It is so hard for me to sit down and plan to do something. I just like to roll with my day. (which is frustrating to those around me!) :-) 

I must be intentional about some things. Like, my time with the Lord. Period. The end. 

Okay, today my friend from way, way, way back is guest blogging. She is a beautiful girl who loves the Lord! Michele also blogs and is a really great writer. (as you will see.)

Be blessed today my sweet SHINE girls!

Raising My White Flag
by: Michele Fort

Job is a hard book to read.  Of all the books in the Bible, it’s the one I most often try to avoid.

Why?  Because Job is a hard-to-understand account of a man (a mighty, mighty good man I might add) who experiences unexplainable and unfathomable loss.  A man and his suffering.

Similar to the childhood game, “Mother, may I?” in which the player asks a question and waits for permission to be granted before acting, our accuser enters the presence of God, with just one question:  “God, may I?”  God’s response:  “Yes, you may.”

And in a flash, all that Job has ever known or ever possessed is gone. 

His children.  His possessions.  His health.  His position in the community.  His reputation. 

Job was stripped of everything.  Everything except his wife and his life.

Stripped.  All he had was taken from him.  All of this happened to him.  And God allowed it. 

As soon I come up for a breath from reciting this prayer, “Lord, please don’t allow all I have and all I know to be stripped away from me”, another word, a very different word, comes to mind. 

Surrender.

Surrendering is something I do, not something done to me.  Willingly, I choose to give something over to Someone else.  It’s not just a single action, but a posture in life.  It’s raising my white flag high above my head with the declaration, “I give up.  I hand it over it to You.  You win.”

But surrendering is hard.  For some reason, I think by hanging on to my “thing”, I am more capable of handling it or protecting it or making it more prosperous. 

In clenched fists, I hold on when God is telling me to let go.  To trust Him.  To surrender.

Just like last Christmas when an opportunity arose for our family to help some refugees from Bhutan, a tiny country north of India.

We were asked to collect blankets, winter clothing and coats to give these men, women, and children who had literally just stepped off the plane in cold Atlanta only wearing sandals and the clothes on their back.  My husband and I gathered what we were willing to give and asked others to do the same. 

The very Sunday we were to travel to Atlanta to take these items to the refugees and others already here from India, I got dressed for church, put on my brand-new coat I had only purchased days before, and walked out the door.
While donning my very new, very nice, very perfect coat, I got into the car while my husband loaded up the bags of old, worn coats into the trunk.  Without warning, I sensed these words in my spirit, “Oh, and don’t forget to give the coat off your back, too.”

“What?  Seriously, Lord?  Not my new coat.  Please.  How about I go inside and find another older coat to give?”

But even as I tried to wrestle with God over a silly coat, I knew what He was really asking.  It wasn’t even about the coat.  It was about my heart being willing to let go.  Would I give Him my best?  Would I think of others more than I think of myself?  Would I surrender to Him?

I wore my new coat to church for the first and the last time that day.  And then later in the afternoon, I carried it into the tiny apartment in Atlanta and laid it on the sofa as an offering.  Not to the refugees taking up residence there.  Not to the woman who would later wear it because she desperately needed it.  But to my God.  To the One who willingly laid down His life for me. 

Then I walked away.  Not dwelling on what I’d given up.  But thinking about what I would gain.  A more generous, giving heart.  Something I’d been praying to have.

“No matter what we give up, we are given so much more.”
~ Margaret Feinberg, The Sacred Echo

I wish I could say from that moment on, I continue to surrender my best, my all, with open hands.  But the truth is, I look down and find them closed and clenched far more often than I should.  It’s a daily surrender.  A daily death to myself.  A daily offering to Him.

At my church, we sing a song by worship leader, Chris Tomlin, entitled “White Flag”.

The lyrics are so incredibly powerful.  Read them below or click on the YouTube link to hear the song.


We raise our white flag.  We surrender all to You.  It’s all to You.
We raise our white flag.  The war is over.  Love has come.  Your love has won.

What could we lose by surrendering everything we have to Christ?  Better yet, what could we gain?

Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat—I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?” Luke 9:23-25 (The Message)