Surrender.

God is moving here in our second community. With less than 10 days left in Africa, we are continuing to declare that God is not done yet. Praise God for all that He has done here so far. Here’s a story from Christian about all that God’s taken Him through this summer. Enjoy!

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“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”-Romans 12:1

            This is the story of a man who went to Africa. He spent his days doing a great many things-teaching children about grace and initiative, learning from men and women about their lives and God’s power and faithfulness, playing with a child who most likely has autism and helping him to learn to walk. But those things are not truly what he did, for you see, it was only by God working through the man that he was able to make it through the day, much less teach, or learn, or care for a child. So what was this man really doing you ask? He was surrendering.

Yes, he was surrendering, not because he had lost hope in winning the battle, but because he knew that the war was already won. He surrendered his comfort, his warm showers, his macaroni and cheese, his family, his friends, his days and his future to God. This may sound odd, but something, maybe the only thing, the man learned throughout his ventures, was that they weren’t his. Nothing was. Everything was on loan from God, from the one who created it all. And so, the man gave up his feigned control over his life and began to take his fingers off the reigns of his life. He slowly began to let God have a grip on more and more of the life he once idolized.

Now, you may be wondering why the man doesn’t have any fancy stories of children he saved, or buildings he built? And that is because they are not his stories to tell-they are God’s. The man witnessed many things while on his Journey. He saw God walk 25 children up to the gates of His kingdom and welcome them in with loving arms after they heard the story of the prodigal son. The man also saw a woman of God demonstrate to him what God meant to her in her life by her fervent passion after Him and His calling for her life in missions. And yes, the man was there, but it was not important that he was there; it was imperative that his Heavenly Father orchestrated every moment of it.

The man experienced many things and met many people, and although he knows their names and faces, they are not what he thinks of first. The first thing that he thinks of, or remembers, about his Journey is how he met his Father at every turn, loving the man still, regardless of how the man fought God, or argued with him. This man, you must understand, was very afraid. Not of Africa, not even of being away from home, but he was afraid of surrendering his life to God, because he had been hurt badly in the past and he blamed God for it. But God never let the man stray too far from Him, and kept him protected and took the man through just enough to show him who He was and His power. So, when the man arrived in Africa, God stripped from him his ability to control his life, and showed him the beauty of His plans for the man.

This man, for the first time, began to trust others again after being hurt. And he found that he was not just trusting other men on a Journey at the same time as his, but he was trusting God in them. The man began to develop relationships with these other men, and found that he had six brothers that he never had before. These brothers showed him God’s love for him every day and encouraged him daily to know Christ more and follow Him harder. For the first time, the man understood that he was not alone on this earth, and that he not only had his Heavenly Father with him every step of the way, but also brothers in Christ who loved him and would walk with him through fire and flames, encouraging him towards God the whole the way. The man finally understood that it was not only possible, but also empowering to “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” And to “… Honor one above yourselves.” – Romans 12:10

So, the man could remember little children, or powerful stories of brothers and sisters in Christ overcoming all odds to follow God, or the joy on the faces of the new friends he made, and he will… but all that is second to the awe the man has gained towards God and His power, and the love he has seen in those six new brothers he has come to love and cherish – not because those men deserve to be praised, but because together the man and his brothers are spurring each other closer to God every moment of every day. The man will never forget what God showed him in this part of his Journey, and he will carry it with him for the rest of his days on this earth. In the end, there is no end. For the man has not yet finished his Journey, in Africa or in life and he will not until he meets Christ in Heaven.

-Christian