Tossed around by God
My kids love to wrestle. When they were younger this involved their willing submission to a variety of acrobatic feats I put them through. I can’t do that with my son (Isaiah) anymore. Now I actually have to defend myself as he goes on the attack. But with my daughter (Ayla) I have another six months to a year for tossing her around. There are few things in life that can beat her joyful squeals as I spin and toss her.
As we look ahead to 2012 and are inundated with articles, sermons, and blog posts about resolutions, I was struck by the importance of her posture toward me when we “wrestle” for the way I think about my approach to another year. It has everything to do with being disciples of Jesus.
She can’t toss and spin herself.
Ayla loves to spin around on her own, but the things she’s able to do alone don’t compare to what she can do when she lets me provide the power for her acrobatics. The same is true for us with God. I spend a lot of time thinking about the things I need to do and how to accomplish them. I forget easily that what I can accomplish is nothing compared to what God can do with me if I submit to Him.
She’s not in control.
When Ayla comes to “wrestle” she has some idea of what we’ll be doing, but she doesn’t determine exactly what she’ll be doing. She can ask me to do the things she enjoys the most, but has to rely on my willingness to do those things if they’re going to happen. Similarly, when we submit our will to God’s and ask Him to work through us we give up the ability to determine what will happen. We can guess that it will involve using our spiritual gifts and abilities, working for redemption and reconciliation, and growth in our conformity to Christ, but the specifics are likely to be quite different than we expect. In prayer we can ask God for things and listen to what He wants for us, but we don’t get to determine exactly what happens.
She has to trust me.
Ayla comes to me because I take care of her as we’re “wrestling.” I don’t drop her, insist on doing things she doesn’t like, or keep going for ten minutes after she asks me to stop. She trusts that I want to have fun with her in the same way she wants to have fun with me. She also trusts that I love her and want to protect her. For us to really be disciples of Jesus we have to trust God too–especially when we face difficulty or God asks us to do things that don’t make sense. There are times when life and God’s direction don’t make sense and we have to trust that he loves us and stays with us.
It looks a little crazy to other people.
Ayla and I have been doing this for at least three years without injury (okay, without significant injury). Despite that, when we start wrestling my wife often leaves the room or covers her eyes. Our wrestling looks a little crazy to her and to some others who have witnessed it. When we throw ourselves on the will and way of God the things we do and don’t do will sometimes look pretty crazy to others. Many of them won’t serve to advance our careers, build our bank accounts, or make us comfortable.
As you look ahead to 2012, what would it look like to let God toss you around a little bit?