A.W. Tozer wrote a small, but mighty book called “The Pursuit of God”, which I am on my fifth-ish time reading. I have a sweet friend, named Alex, who frequents my back porch. We read books together, and then get together about once a week to discuss life’s transformative process, using the book we are reading as a springboard. This past Wednesday, we were discussing my favorite chapter (chapt. 2) of the Pursuit of God. Tozer writes of God calling Abraham to lay his beloved son, as an offering, on the altar. Tozer’s analysis of this hard-pill-of-a-passage is that God’s test of Abraham was meant to remove Isaac from the idolatrous position he held in his father’s heart. As soon as Abraham had proven that he loved God more than his son, the Lord stopped his hand, and provided a substitute sacrifice.
I told Alex that, though God has never called me to do something so extreme, He has beckoned me to a million little deaths. Deaths that would chip away at my the calloused areas of my heart, and bring me into deeper surrender. Times when I was fearful of losing my husband, or sons. Times when I had to have a show-down with those fears, and preach things to my soul that would make it float in the storm. Things that make my soul cling more tightly to heaven, and less to this world.
Two days later, I had to check myself into the hospital for heart attack symptoms.
Just as I was saying good-bye to the kind folks who transported me by ambulance from one hospital to the next, my phone rang. It was my mom. The same mom who knows how the thick the sludge of heart disease runs in my family, and is stuck on the opposite side of the country, petrified of her only daughter having pains symptomatic of a clogged up heart.
She asked me how I was doing. I was stunned by my own joy, and honestly answered her that I was doing fine. I told her plainly, surprising myself at the truth of it, that I am more attached to heaven than earth. I recognize that my life is laid up in heaven with Christ, and all that really matters down here is that I live to the fullness of His’ glory, because that’s all that matters for eternity. If that means having my ribs sawn open, and my heart dissected, then I guess it’ll hurt, but this life isn’t what I’m living for. If that brings God the greatest glory, then so be it. What is this pain but a momentary, light affliction?
And I thought of Joni Earekson Tada, who glorifies God more than just about anyone on this planet, and has been a quadriplegic for around 50 years, and last I heard, was battling cancer, as well.
I realized that all those times when I had a shoot-out with my greatest fears and won, had created spiritual muscles for a time like this. They had taught me the supernatural and super-important art of surrender. They had taught me how to turn my palms up, open before God, and let Him give and take as He so chooses. I think 2020 taught me a good bit about this, as well. Control issues will either die with 2020 or be the death of us in 2020.
So, I am laying in a hospital bed, wishing I could be with my son who is flying in from Florida in about 45 minutes, but knowing that God has me here.
Maybe it’s not for my heart. Maybe it’s just so that I will pray over the people that enter my room, and encourage the fainthearted nurses who have been fighting their way through the jungle of 2020, working in healthcare, serving patients who are stressed out and angry at the world. Maybe it’s just so I’ll write this silly blog post, reminding anyone fighting their own battles for surrender, that it is worth the fight. Or maybe I am here to discover that something is terribly wrong with one of my most vital organs, and rejoice that I didn’t find out by making my husband a widow, and my children mother-less. Either way, it is the Lord who has me here, so I can simply open the hand, and rejoice, and be led by His kind and tender spirit, who suffered patiently through things much more tremendous than what I’m going through, because His’ home was heaven’s palace, as well.