Wednesday, July 09, 2008

submission to God

Finish this sentence:

"The world would be a better place if only _______________ ."

What did you think of? I'm guessing that you did not first think of something you have direct control over.

If God reigns, then shouldn't we believe that the world is actually exactly as it should be, except for things we can change?

Feel free to disagree with me. I'm not sure it's quite as stark as that. But I know I, for one, err too much on the side of being dissatisfied with people, jobs, illnesses, churches, whatever. It's hard to trust God to make all things work for good when some things are so apparently bad.

After reading my post on biblical submission, Michael reminded me that during our dance lessons, I had a hard time following not only when Michael led me, but also the one or two times I danced with our instructor. He dances wonderfully -- graceful, smooth -- and for no good reason I could not relax and follow his lead. "Stop leading," he'd say. I knew he wasn't making any mistakes. But being led doesn't come naturally to me.

Just as dancing with Michael works for me as a metaphor for biblical submission in marriage, dancing with the instructor seems like a good image for submission to God. I know he's doing everything right -- but it's hard to trust him. When I complain about things that seem wrong to me but I can't affect, I suspect that I'm trying to lead God instead of letting him lead me. It takes humility to be led. I want the dance, including the other dancers, to do things right (i.e. my way). God seems to be more interested in my submission to him than in the dance going perfectly.

I vaguely recall from dance lessons that no matter what my partner did -- spin me out, swing me around -- my role stayed pretty much the same: step, rock, step. It seemed to go more smoothly if I focused on the rhythm of my steps instead of on where my partner led me. What steps should I focus on while God leads me?

Recently God has thrown a friend of mine for a loop. Her husband is in the hospital with a brain tumor. This morning the doctor performed a biopsy on it; they won't have the results for another 3 to 5 days. "I'm just not ready for this," she keeps saying. Her friends and I remind her: trust God. Pray. Let others help you and love you. I think that these things are the basic steps to follow, repeatedly, to enter into the rhythm as the true Lord of the Dance leads us.


Anonymous said...

....if only we could truly learn to treat others as we would like to be treated and love our neighbors as ourselves (especially the not so loveable ones).

Kristi said...

Amen! That's where the rubber hits the road. Thank God for Jesus and that we don't have to try to do this in our own natural strength but rather his.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristi
A supeior piece of writing. Ample food for thought and prayer. Thank you.

Sadd Family said...

"God works all things for Good..." doesn't mean that everything was good at the time it happened; only that it will be redeemed for the one who belongs to God. Take David in the psalms: unparalleled complaining and unparalleled faith at the same time.
Are we ungrateful as a people who complain about things which are actually good? oh yeah! But, I believe that the challenge isn't so much to try to feel better about things in the world that are definitely wrong. It's to take the pain of living in a fallen world to the God who is the only one who can fix it; and to the only one who can fix our hearts from becoming bitter at the same time.
I appreciate your dance metaphor, but if you pan the camera back a little from the couple you will see that they are dancing in a very real mine field. The great beauty and joy of the dance grows from the bride staring into her lover's eyes as "a thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you." (ps91).
I love that dancing is still a metaphor that God is using with you. Beautiful.

Kristi said...

It's good to hear from you, David!

I mostly agree with what you're saying about the Psalms. I just see in the complaints in the Psalms a willingness to see things from God's perspective -- a resulting reaffirmation of his sovereignty and goodness -- and not solely complaining.

But I totally agree with you that we can't just choose to feel better about stuff that's wrong -- just that God wants us to do something about it, such as pray, and not simply question his goodness (though as the Psalms show, that might be a stage in the process).

I love what you said about the dancers in a mine field. Yes!

Love to your family.