“‘Dear God,’ she prayed, ‘let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.’”
—Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Her parents started a major missions organization that impacts thousands of Eastern European youth each year and has ignited a gospel hunger where the Iron Curtain once hung. Her mom wrote a book detailing the life story of their family and how the mission happened by God’s grace and leading. I am privileged to call this dear sister a very close friend. Her faith and contentment inspire me.
As I skimmed the memoir her mom wrote of saying “Yes” to God, I’ve been thinking about how every fiber of my being longs to live a life of “Yes”– to God’s plan, will, and promises.
The hard part about saying, “I surrender all” to God is that there’s a ton of suffering that accompanies that, because God uses trials to shape us, to serve his purpose, to display his character. Persecution and spiritual warfare are assumed and promised (Eph 6:10-20; 1 Pet 4:12-19).
I want the life that says “Yes” to God, I want to live like that, I want to be able to look back and know I left every single piece of me out on the field for Jesus, submitted my entire self and will and heart to him for his use.
But I am afraid. I am terribly afraid of the refiner’s fire.
I toss and turn with the battle. I want to be holy, I sing it, I pray it, but I am scared of the Potter’s hand that could allow Satan to pull a Job on me or open the window to tribulation to make that come true.
I am afraid he will take the life of someone precious to me. I am afraid he will take my health, let cancer through the door, bring tragedy to my steps, make instability my companion as part of the quest to make me holy.
Yet I want to say “Yes” and let my life be something in God’s hands every hour and minute of my existence. I long to be like the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11 who looked beyond the starvation, burning, and bitterest of sufferings to the greater mission and greater country (11:16, 32-38).
Saying “Yes,” though, is not something that’s done all at once. Truly thinking about it, I think surrendering ourselves to the Lord is a repeated process that we confront over and over in life. As we are arrested by tough roadblocks, we are presented with the decision to trust God and say “Yes,” or not.
At the beginning of Year 4 five weeks ago, I was struggling with major overload and syllabus shock. My same friend, whose mom wrote the missionary memoir, actually reminded me that God gives us just enough grace and strength for today. He helps me through today, and then he will be there tomorrow again. But I don’t have to say “Yes” to everything I will face in life right at this moment…God will be there in that storm, but for now, all I need to do is say “Yes” to today.
To right now. To what God has given me today, the blessings and the difficulties.
I’m grateful for his grace in that. What love that our Father doesn’t make us take on the entirety of our sinful existence at one time. I pray I can keep learning to say “Yes” to God, to see the truth, and that he will help me to give my wrongful fear up to his altar of gentle hands.