“Hey Jesus! What’s happenin’?” Donnie called as he ran to catch up. Jesus was dressed in a white robe and was walking on the sidewalk across the street from the main auditorium at the Bible School we attended. It didn’t seem strange to Donnie. It was like he had been expecting Jesus to show up, but I was a bit overwhelmed.
I had so many plans. Were those plans wrong? Donnie and I were going to be married in just a few months. I wanted to do great things for Jesus. After all, why else go to Bible School? I wasn’t annoyed that Jesus showed up, but this changed everything. I was concerned that I had made all these plans without His direction.
“Were Donnie and I supposed to be engaged?” I asked. “I mean, since you came back, it’s obvious we were making plans for something that isn’t going to happen.”
“Oh, Kathy, it was right. It was so right.” Jesus responded.
I felt immense peace. I dozed somewhere between my dream and consciousness, wishing the dream would continue. I had just encountered Jesus, and nothing else mattered. I fully woke up and contemplated this marvelous encounter I had with my Lord.
We started out totally sold out to Jesus. We put aside academic studies because we saw the urgency of sharing the gospel. We completed Bible School, went to Haiti to minister to the lost, lived in Texas, Montana, and Pennsylvania, always with the desire to minister to Jesus and share His love. Children came along, running after toddlers, then all the school and sport events, we were so busy and my life was full. There was the constant “depending on Jesus” for life needs, when work was scarce, when a child was ill, and when I needed sanity as I was buried in the demands of motherhood.
I’m blessed with a large family, and currently my life is full with children and grandchildren and extended family surrounding us. I still love Jesus, and I want my life, now more than ever to count. As I sat before the Lord, a memory verse that I was working on challenged me:
Philippians 3: 7-8 says, “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,”
I had to ask myself, what things were gain to me that I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ? More than that, what things were loss to me? Have I suffered loss?
As I sat before the Lord, His mercy revealed things I did give up. I gave up a career to raise my family. I gave up family when I went to Haiti. I gave up pleasure of food when I fasted. I gave up being revengeful when wronged by a friend or neighbor. I tried to be a good mother and example to my children and others around me, but so many times I failed miserably. But God in his love has put that away.
But I didn’t suffer the loss of “all things”! How do you do that?
As I continue to move in my quest to be conscious of God in every aspect of my life, God brought to mind things that I have not yet surrendered. It’s painful! Some things aren’t harmful, they just draw me from devotion to Jesus.
Just like the father who brought his boy for deliverance in Mark 9:24 cried, “I believe, help my unbelief” I cry, “I am willing to suffer loss of all things that I may know Christ my savior, help my reservations”.
Where do you stand? What are you willing to surrender in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ our savior? More than that, what are you holding on to? Maybe it’s something that isn’t wrong in itself, but it’s keeping you from a devotion to Him. Are you willing to surrender? Are you even willing to be made willing so that you may gain Christ?
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Matthew 16:24-25 “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘if anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me ‘For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it’.”
Isaiah 64:8 “But now, O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay, and you our potter, and all of us are the work of Your hand.”
God only asks for us to surrender so He can give us abundant life in return. He is after the heart and wants a pure heart free from encumbrances that would hinder our relationship with Him.
As a young Christian, I heard a preacher say, “God can do a lot with a little if He has it all.” Have you ever wondered why the disciples brought the five loaves and two little fishes to Jesus? Do you really think they thought Jesus could make it stretch to feed the multitudes? Probably not. They probably thought, “We don’t have enough for everybody, but this might be enough to feed us.” But Jesus had bigger plans. That boy surrendered his whole lunch. Look at what Jesus did!
If He can feed five thousand men plus women and children with five loaves and two little fish, think what He can do with me if I just surrender! Think what He can do with you! Your life was bought with a price, Jesus surrendered His life that yours might be saved. He’s the potter and we are the clay. He created us and has a design for our lives, but to live in its fullness, He just requires us to surrender.
One day we will be face to face with Jesus. When we are in his presence all those things that were so difficult to let go of will be so terribly insignificant – “In view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8)
I just happened to get on Lifeway today. So glad I took a little time to look at the blog and saw your name right away.
This is beautiful and so humble and real. You have made Phil 3:7-8 a real question for me too. I see how so much of my life has been surviving as a single woman taking care of myself and picking up any good and joy that He could give me, trying to avoid the mistakes and encroaching sadness. I don’t know if out of devotion to Him as much as “making it through.” I knew life was nothing without Him and I wanted to always be where He was, doing what He was doing, but I should have more “desire” to know Him, to be surrendered, than to just be thankful for what good I can experience. I have come several times to surrender, but I think surrender is something that has to be done more than once, and mine needs to involve more the emotional side of me.
I just love your writing! Your style is so easy going and never boring, full of flowers to pick, flowers of life. God bless you and thanks for sharing your deepest heart! What a blessing to know you. (Oh, and Donnie too, LOL!)