Surrender is not the surrender of the external life, but of the will. When that is done, all is done. There are very few crisis in life: the great crisis is the surrender of the will. – Oswald Chambers
My mother had a saying that would likely rattle the teeth of most therapists these days. She used it judiciously, most often when I was extolling my rights or whining about not getting my way.
“You’re just not that important,” she would counter, and it always shut me down, which was the point, I’m sure. Psychiatric stamps of PTSD, Anxiety/Depression, OCD, ADHD, bipolar and let’s not forget SAD (who in the north doesn’t get depressed when it looks like a Dostoyevsky novel outside for weeks on end?) are handed out like blankets on a long flight. Get comfy, and snuggle up.
I know what you’re thinking. Yes, there are legitimately sick, broken, busted people out there. I was one. PTSD and depression have been faithful companions. True PTSD can be completely incapacitating. I lost my career (ER nursing), friends and even the ability to drive for a time. Worst of all, I lost pride. I could not “bounce back.” There were no Bootstraps to pull on, and I knew all too well there was no medication or therapy that could fix it. Depression – the paralyzing weight of hopelessness. What’s the use? I’ve been there, many times. So I am not without compassion. In fact, I bet I care more than many psychiatrists who click up a potpourri of medications on their laptops that will at best dim the harsh light and relentless noise of a hard life that still must be lived.
For me, one of the most appealing aspects of true Christianity was God’s ability to fix the broken thing inside that no one else could touch. They could call it a name, point to where it came from, and put a band-aid on it, but no one, after almost 20 years of off and on again therapy, could fix it. But God.
And something else I love about Jesus, is it’s not about me. Mom was on to something. It’s about Him. His glory. His grace. Not to mention His strength, love, peace and joy that become mine when I am His. Good deal for me – He got a crazy, mad, busted girl and I got unhindered entrance into His throne room of grace.
I love what’s happening at Asbury University in Kentucky. It delights me that so many young people are spending time in God’s presence, worshipping, praying, seeking more of Him. No words can describe the beauty of being within His glory. But unless they are transformed, as “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” (Acts 17:6), then their revival is in vain. Feelings wear off, the world groans and turns on its ancient axle. It’s time to make the donuts. One of the things I love most about my son Miles’ church is the very end of the service when the pastor says, “You are sent.” You’ve been fed, now go. The mission field is right outside the door.
We are filled only for the purpose of pouring out to others. And this is never a matter of the just the right place, or right time, but obedience to Christ and surrendering our will. It’s uncomfortable to cross well-defined boundaries, but this is precisely what Jesus did, over and over. And something amazing happens when we do. We are transformed – plain, crooked, cracked vessels filled with the most priceless treasure on earth, God’s glory, pouring out through ordinary folks like you and me, speaking words of life and hope and freedom. His Kingdom, here on earth, as it is in heaven. That will blow away any depression.
As Chambers said, “The great crisis in life is the surrender of will.” It’s not what happens TO us, whether it’s PTSD or revival. It’s how we respond. Doing the next thing that God points to. Sometimes it’s very small and so ordinary, but it seems difficult, like saying, “I’m sorry.” Or holding the hand of a dying woman, like I did yesterday. I was in a rush and I almost missed it.
“Do you know the love of Jesus?”
Her grip tightened and tears filled her eyes. She did not, and told me it seemed too good to be true. Well, yes it does, I said, but it is true. She smiled as we prayed together. Then she asked for tissues, which are an appendage acquired by all little old ladies. The next thing.
“Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:8
But Paul declares that all else will pass away. Love is God’s creative power moving through His creation, you and me. Crazy huh? Try it. It will chase away your winter blues and bring some joy into this sad place. Be God’s Valentine to a world without hope, dying for true love. Now that’s revival.