This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from the heart of Ghassan Khalaf (from Lebanon. Amidst bombings and destruction, Brother Khalaf faithfully visited victims of war to encourage them in their faith), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accept the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. (Hebrews 10:34)
Complete surrender is the only way to overcome anxiety. During the black days of Beirut the sky was continuously raining mortar shells and rockets. No place was spared from their shrapnel. Everyone was in danger of having his house burned, or losing his money, his possessions, library, car, or life.
Anxiety was about to rob me of my peace in Christ. Confusion hovered over me for days. In a period of meditation I put all I had before the Lord and asked His victory over the feelings of anxiety, and about losing material possessions. I prayed: 'Oh Lord! I am resolved, by your grace, to accept with all contentment, with total surrender and joy, whatever physical or material harm may come to me.'
I dreamed one night that my car was stolen. Feelings of resentment attacked me. A struggle began in my soul between complaint and contentment. After a cruel struggle I accepted the loss with pleasure and complete surrender. Then I woke up.
I was happy it was only a dream. But a thought captured me: It is beautiful to be victorious in a dream, but it is more glorious to be victorious over anxiety in real life while awake.
A moment of introspection: Anxiety... does that word ever pervade this world in which we live! More and more people, whether Christians or not, look to the future with a sense of foreboding and dread, seeing chaos and strife looming, terror and betrayal on the nightly news. And we look for security, a return to order and trust in the hands of a benevolent God. Control resting in God's hands is reassuring to some of us as Christians, yet is anathema to non-believers. For us Christians, we look to God to control the world; He is sovereign, after all. He establishes rulers and countries; His will shall be done, we pray, on earth as it is in heaven.
Yet Mr. Khalaf brings God's control down to a very practical level: control of our lives. In this economy, with our heavenly Father at the helm, we surrender to His will. Relying on our own willpower, such is not an easy surrender. Yet we have sung, "All to Jesus I surrender; all to him I freely give, I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live." Ghassan encourages us to just this level of love and commitment to our King of Kings; and he contends that it is this surrender that frees us from anxiety. If we trust God, we will wish to obey Him, to listen to Him and carry out His wishes within our lives. In this we may experience God's blessing.
In his sermon entitled "Absolute Surrender", Andrew Murray has written, "We have heard it before, but we need to hear it very definitely, the condition of God's blessing is absolute surrender of all into His hands. Praise God! If our hearts are willing for that, there is no end to what God will do for us, and to the blessing God will bestow." If anxiety would rob us of our peace in Christ, then let us surrender to God, and submit our anxieties to Him (Philippians 4:6-7). If we hesitate in coming to the point of complete surrender, keep in mind that "It is God that works in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13) Mr. Murray contends, "God does not ask you to give the perfect surrender in your strength, or by the power of your will; God is willing to work it in you."
Why would we wish to continue as anxious persons, trying to wrest peace and blessing from a time akin to that of Noah? Should we not rather look to God, who in His Holy Bible warned us of these days? Perhaps we, too, could pray with Brother Khalaf: 'Oh Lord! I am resolved, by your grace, to accept with all contentment, with total surrender and joy, whatever physical or material harm may come to me.' Perhaps by God's grace we, too, may resolve to accept with all contentment, with total surrender and joy, both possible physical/material harm and the blessings of God to us--as we place our lives, our fortune (future) and our sacred honor (giving all glory to God our Creator) in His care. And God does care. Seeing the world lost in sin and mired under heavy pharisaical laws, God so loved the world that He gave His only son. He cared for the world so much, and hope was born anew. Life was redefined within God's care.
We too can have glorious life; and can be victorious over anxiety as we, in complete surrender, place our very real lives in the divine hands of our heavenly Father. Let’s look back and thank Him; look ahead and trust Him; look around and serve Him; look up and expect Him. Jesus is coming again! Because He lives, let us be His.