Part I Summary God wants all of us, every part, and will accept nothing less. This doesn’t have to be scary though, if we see him for who he is. What is scary, is to have to try to control our own lives. I learned true surrender when my marriage was forcibly taken from me through my husband divorcing me and remarrying. After that, though, I have had plenty of other occasions where I had to decide whether I was going to humble myself…or not. Practicing Surrender: FORCED OR CHOSEN? I look back at my life now and realize that some of the things I suffered were to burn pride off of me until I was completely purified. I think sometimes that’s the reason for our suffering: to humble us, because God resists the proud. That’s a scary place to be… to be somewhere God resists us? But he gives grace to the humble. We don’t automatically stay in that place. But if we don’t humble ourselves voluntarily, this is what I believe: if we don’t do it, God does it. Nebuchadnezzar said, “Those who walk in pride He is able to humble.” I would rather do it myself than God have to do it. I surrendered my husband to God only after he was already gone. It was a little late, but it did enable me to walk in love and forgiveness. After that, I felt God testing me, “You gave me your husband when you didn’t have a choice; will you give me your children when you do have a choice?” See, I had a choice of whether to go to court and fight for my legal rights (child support and custody) or to follow Matthew 5 in agreeing with my enemy quickly, and returning a blessing instead. It was a hard test, but I knew, “Lord, I can’t try to fight for them like I fought for my husband. I saw how useless that was.” So I told God again that all I have is his. Then I was able to live free from fear about what was going to happen with my children, not because I had any guarantees, but because they weren’t mine, and someone much greater than me was in charge. -10- THE WILL OF GOD…?? But was it God’s will for me to be divorced, and is your pain God’s will for you? Let me ask you this: was it God’s will for Judas to betray Jesus? Here’s what I’ve come to understand: it wasn’t God’s will for Judas, but it was all a part of his plan for Jesus. God never wills for someone to sin, but he can weave that together in his plan for his children, for their good. So no, it wasn’t God’s will for Judas, because Judas was resistant to God’s will, but he used that in the master-plan he had for Jesus’s life. In the same way, it was not God’s will that my husband commit adultery, but this came as no surprise to God. He knew it on our wedding day, and he already had a plan of redemption in place for me. Slowly I began to see that God was using my intense grief to make me more like Christ. And that became my deepest heart’s desire. I encourage you also, when meeting with difficulty, instead of complaining, “How is this supposed to make me feel good?” to ask instead, “God, how do you want to use this to make me more like Christ? Because in everything we experience, good or bad, we can find the footsteps of our forerunner Jesus there, and in that way is lifegiving to our spirit. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Here is a song that shows my growth during that first year that my husband was gone. Many of these principles I learned from Zac Poonen, a preacher from India whose messages I heard on tape and changed my life through giving understanding to my mind and heart.