The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Obedience and Surrender

For many years I used to hate the words Obedience and Surrender. I wasn’t too crazy about either one. Of course I’m referring to God and when I would go to church and hear these words I would just cringe. Why? Because I felt this was definitely an area I was very weak in, not to mention I just didn’t want to do it.

Fear of these words kept me running for about 40 years because I felt like such a loser and disappointment to God. I even remember making the statement that God probably didn’t even love me. How could He? I could almost visualize Him shaking His head in disappointment when He looked at me.

Boy was I wrong. Now I think, how could God deny me love when He is love Himself. I didn’t get all the answers at one time, but I had to face these fears and was amazed when I saw them in the light. They didn’t look anything like I had pictured in my mind.

Let’s look at the word “Surrender” for a second. We as people and especially Americans see this word as taboo. To surrender would mean a sign of weakness and quitting. When does a person usually surrender in a situation? Let’s look at it if we were in a war. When a soldier gets overwhelmed with the enemy and there’s no way out, he throws up his hands and says, “I surrender.” Usually when they have exhausted all means of escape and there is no where else to turn and they finally surrender. This was a very point God brought me to. I came to the point there was no where to run and all my escapes were cut off. Then I surrendered to Him. He wasn’t chasing me. He was seeking me and I’m so glad He found me. What I didn’t understand about surrender was I was looking at it as the rest of my life, possibly 20 or 30 years. That was too much for me to swallow at one time, plus I may not even live that long. Another point God does not give us grace to live in the future. There’s no need. I have to surrender daily admitting and trusting God and that He has my best interest at heart. As His word says, He will never leave me or forsake me.

Many say that God turned His back on them a long time ago and they can’t even see Him anymore. That’s because they turned their back on Him. He will never leave you or forsake you and no matter how many times you say it, it doesn’t change Him.

What about the word “Obedience?” I guess since we are all naturally disobedient that word does have a tendency to rub against the grain. If you took a look back into the Old Testament at some of the characters in there that God used, you would find some pretty rough men. Even though they were rough, they had a quality of obedience to God. We’re afraid of obedience and surrender because of what God might ask us to do. I think one of the greatest fears if we surrender then God is going to send us to Africa as a missionary. If this were true Africa would be bulging at the seams due to all the missionaries over there.

The truth is, if God wanted to send any of us to Africa, He would prepare us for it and by the time He let us go we would be biting at the bit and begging Him to hurry. The other fear is that God is going to ask us to change the world. Not likely going to happen. What I have noticed is God uses me to do (in my mind) small insignificant things such as, opening the door for someone, paying for someone’s meal, saying a kind word or doing some small task for someone. The important thing is to be alert when He speaks and then do what He says. That’s obedience! In fact, you probably are already doing it and just didn’t know it. So what is the driving motivation for us to be obedient? Not to get love, but because we love. “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” 2 John 1:6

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