“How long, oh Lord, how long?” she pleaded. “When will I ever come out of this darkness, this place of restlessness? I thought you were a God of joy and peace?”
“I am, child, I am,” He gently replied.
“Then why can’t I feel it? God, my life is a mess and I just don’t know what to do anymore. Why won’t you help me?”
“I will help you, if you are willing to be helped,” He said.
“What do You mean, if I’m willing to be helped? Is that not what I asked You for?”
“Are you willing to let go and surrender everything I ask you to? Are you willing to submit to Me and be obedient, no matter what the cost? Are you ready to let me cleanse your life and make you like Myself? It will not be easy.”
What could He possibly ask her to do, she wondered? Was she not already living for Him? She wavered momentarily and then desperately said, “I think so. I will do anything; just help me out of this place!”
At once He began to show her things in her life that she had done to hurt Him and others. She saw acts of sin and selfishness, words spoken that cut and hurt. She saw chains of bondage called Fear, Guilt, Shame, Regret, and Insecurity. She remembered all the times God asked her to do something and said no out of fear of what may happen. She wondered that although she had repented of all these things and received His forgiveness, that she still felt guilt and shame? Where was the healing God always promised? Where was the freedom, joy and peace?
Knowing her thoughts, He looked at her and said, “Until you let go and submit and obey whatever I command you, you cannot know the fullness of these things, my freedom, joy and peace.”
She shook her head violently. “No,” she reasoned, “I can’t. Think of what will happen to me if I obey? I mean, I know I can trust You, but what about my reputation? What if what I do will not be accepted and I will only be hated and put to more shame? I can’t do it God. I can’t.”
“Oh, my child,” He said sadly, “unless you surrender your entire life, with all of your plans, hopes, dreams, your fears, guilt, shame, insecurities, unless you make My will your will, I cannot truly help you. I need your whole life, with nothing held back. Then I can make something beautiful out of it.”
“Beautiful?” The word almost sounded strange and foreign to her ears. “How can my life possibly be beautiful?”
“What you see is only a portion of the bigger picture. I’m painting a beautiful masterpiece with your life, but you will not see it clearly until I’m finished. It will take me many years yet to finish, but I promise you it will be beautiful.”
By now tears were streaming down her cheeks. “No. It’s way too painful. I can’t handle it. It hurts too much.”
He looked at her with tears in His eyes. “It hurt me too.” With that, He showed her His nail-pierced hands and pointed to the cross where He had hung, stripped and beaten, where blood had flowed from His wounds and crowds mocked and ridiculed Him to pay the price for her sin. The very Son of God, Creator of the universe, cared enough for her, a poor, wretched sinner to endure such agony and death. How could she do anything but submit to Him?
Slowly, she felt her heart soften as she let go of all the things that had enslaved her for so many years. She watched it all fall down at His feet. All of her hopes, dreams, plans, and deepest desires. All of her joys, tears, fears, guilt, shame. Several times she came across something that she felt she could not let go. “Anything but this,” she would say. It was too much. She looked up at His sad, compassionate eyes. “Everything?” she choked.
He watched as slowly every last thing in her life slipped through my fingers. Then, she looked around her and despair seemingly flooded her soul. Again she looked up at her Lord as tears once again made their way down her cheeks and dropped to the ground. “It’s all gone. Every last piece of my life is gone. I’ve given it all to You. There’s nothing left.”
Slowly a smile spread across His face. “Oh, but you’re wrong, my child. Now that you’re empty, you are ready to experience the fullness of Myself, the fullness of joy and peace that I give and no one can take away. Now that you are empty and broken, you are ready to be made complete. You are ready to experience My best plans for you and a life so fresh and exciting beyond anything you could ever have imagined. Yes, hard times will still come, but you will experience my nearness like never before. Don’t you see it now, my child? You were emptied so you could finally be filled.”
She smiled, and in her heart, she knew that it was enough.