Life is so great when it isn’t merely life. It is God’s life. Life in the Son. Not that I am able to live such a life but when I am at the end of myself and crying out and seeking to be conformed to His image, and “surrendering all” just like the song, then He is faithful and He is doing His life. In spite of me. Not because of me. His plan, pushing it through. Over-riding my plan.
Today, just an hour or so ago I had my final in my MBA program. I was at the end of myself because of so many reasons.
Have you ever been there before? For me it is so interesting, and really quite sad that it happens to me this way. Seeing that it is the same again. Again and again since I was like, well it feel like since I was ten, but rather it was since I was a Christian.
When I became a Christian, I wanted to be a doctor. DESPERATELY. One of the first things I remember, that I will always remember, God bless that little girl’s heart, when I was 21 and laying on the floor of the condo that was owned by my grandma’s (who was letting my husband and I stay there for free – well, we intended to pay her back, and did for a while, until she just said, “never mind” and I said , “yeah, okay, good, that is a relief”)– well, anyway, I was a new believer and I thought that I had a really good idea.
So anyway, Grandma’s condo in Irvine. 1984 sometime. Lying on Grandma’s floor, in the large open door closet with my hands over my head and I said to God that that I really wanted to be a doctor, “but whatever is Your will God,” type thing.
Next thing I know. Scan 23 years and I am getting my MBA, having got my MD degree, having actually made that degree and continuing to walk in that.
The thing is, I never made anything myself, all on my own apart from God. I mean, maybe I could have, if I was real lucky. But I aint’ that lucky and I don’t believe in luck anyway. The Lord enabled me to be successful in my studies because I’m not that smart. Some ways I am I suppose, but really, not like the rest of them – the rest of those geniuses that I share classes and notes with.
But I want to try my best. And I really want God to bless my best “in the flesh” but He never does. Whenever I am in my flesh and just try to do good on my own I fall flat on my face and scream as I fall and as my nose scraps the ground. Here are the rows of stitches. Let me point each one out to you.
But I want to do it on my own – want to succeed in the classes and the course work on my own darned good IQ anyway. I’m not that dumb either. But I know that whenever I have not depended on the Lord, He has brought a stretching halt to my so called successfulness. Brick wall. Try again. Brick wall. Try again. Brick wall.
So I find myself desperate once again and 5 o’clock something this morning I am sitting outside the Starbucks and waiting for it to open so I can study some more for my big fat final. And the worship songs come on and I pray and worship and try to make myself right with God because I see the world flashing before my eyes. I try to tell myself that passing the classes is enough but I can’t get with myself about that. It don’t feel right. I don’t want to just make it through. I want to SUCCEED because I am a maniac and I don’t like merely pulling through.
Been 23 years and do you think that my motives of success in this world have changed? My understanding of my motives has changed but I don’t think, well, maybe they have. Maybe my motives have improved, become more godly. Yeah right. I thought so – had myself fooled – until today. If my motives had changed then passing would have been enough. But then again, what do I know of the deep things of God and motives and important things like that?
Well, in the sum of things, I guess that they have. I do want God’s will and if He would only have me pass the test, the course, okay. And to do best in the class too. And announce who did the best in the class. Yeah.
So it was dark this morning in my brother’s Mercedes car that I get to borrow, with heated seats and fine sounding music especially when the music is up full blast and playing some funky song from the 70’s. It looks good. How did I get this car? What did I do? Nothin’. Had the same mother as my brother. He is working like a dog for a bone when the whole back yard is full of meat if he would pull his head up to look, but motivation is good. I like it too.
About 6 AM, I opened up the book that the Lord has been speaking me with. The passage from my good friend Oswald Chambers who lived 100 years ago and knew the same God. He is amazing. My Utmost for His Highest.
I can’t even tell you what the passage said now, because I passed the test at 1 PM today and did real well. I know I aced the test. I hope that I did super good, but I may have only done pretty well. That is a fine range. Between superb and pretty well. Maybe I don’t have early dementia. But one never knows. This morning, on the other hand, I hadn’t passed the test yet and was afraid and could have recited that passage from Oswald’s book. But now I don’t have the patience to think about it.
I have been working so hard. A little work is okay. Even hard work is beneficial. But what is important is not going off and doing the work yourself. That is what the passage was about. It was about the fact that when you give your life to God then it is His responsibility for the accomplishment for the work. It is yours (mine) no longer. It is His. Putting shoe leather on this philosophy is the labor. Okay, God’s work. I need to study to learn the class material. And somewhere in the middle of all that is the surrender to God, the cooperation with God for His work. Understanding that it is all bigger than yourself – than what you can see. That you work hard and sometimes your motives appear lacking, but you lay yourself a living sacrifice on the alter of God for God and run away real fast. “Okay God, whatever You want because, like, You’re God!” And thanks for the car. And for the cool school and for all my friends and family and yeah, You’re the KING. And like, I’m nothing, except having survived the birth chamber. And like, that’s right on. That is the right attitude that He has been looking for all along. To hang with Him as He is and see that He is good, and yeah, you do your best, but your best isn’t your best in your flesh. It is His all inside of you because you drop dead before Him and trust Him and just pour out like a spilled drink and He takes it from there because He is actually good and all He wanted was that you give your life to Him. Hebrews says that we need to believe that He is good and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
What God did for me was show me myself. In light of Him and there I was. And He showed me Himself and then I said, “Yeah” but really, the way that He put it, like, who wouldn’t? So I said, “Yes” and then the entire audience (figuratively speaking – stay with me- )screamed and said, “Yes! The BIG price is behind door number 3!” and I got the whole big prize. It is waiting for me and it is going to be one big extravagance and all the world is going to see (at the end of the age when He comes) and I am going to give Him appropriate glory of who He is, an not me but He is going to do His glorious work through me, all because I believe and thought that He was good. And He is good. And it will be a great day.
So anyway, getting back to what I was trying to say in the beginning. What is sad is how I forgot that I was ever in the first place of being utterly desperate for God to help me with tests in school. Unless I am in the desperation, I forget that spot and I think that there MUST be something in myself to have been aligned with all the really smart and wise people of this world. But then when I get to the place of needing God to help me to think correctly for a test I remember that I have been here before. Oh yeah. Yeah. This place. This same test. The test of humility and accepting that spot.
You would think that I would remember after the first or second time that I was humbled, but I don’t. After the 7th or 77th time, I sort of remember philosophically and recall. But when I am in the same space again, it becomes crystal clear. That I need Him.
Idiot. Maybe early dementia.
You’re exaggerating. Whatever.
If I don’t realize my place and beg, I’ll be stuck in my own excrement and fail. God’s a crutch. Yeah, you bet.