Saturday, September 5, 2009

From Imitation to Authentic

Imagine if someone walked up to you one day and said: "Do you trust every part of your life?" What would your answer be? Perhaps you would emphatically and quickly blurt out: "Yes, of course I do. I trust Him fully!" Perhaps for most of us, that would be our answer in so many words. But think about this with me. Do we, in our hearts, really trust in the Lord as emphatically as we proclaim with our mouths?

In one of my nursing classes, we are studying the different developmental theories that have been presented over the years. One of the most well-known theories was developed by a man named Erik Erikson. He presented a series of stages, with each stage having certain developmental tasks. In order to progress normally in development, each task must be fulfilled before moving to the next stage. I have heard about this theory for quite some time now, but today as I was studying, something stood out to me. In the first stage of development, an infant must accomplish the task guessed I sat in awe today as I read these words of Mary Townsend in my textbook: "The major task to develop is basic trust in the mothering figure...Achievement of the task results in self-confidence, optimism, faith in the gratification of needs and desires, and hope for the future." Wow, wow, wow. It hit me. Just as a baby learns to trust that its needs will be met by its mother, so we can trust that our needs will be met by our Heavenly Father. He is a God that can be trusted, our Father Who has never once failed His children. How amazing is that? And what comes from that step of trust in His provision? Faith and hope for this journey of life that He walk with us. Amen!

A few weeks ago, I sat in my church and was blessed by one of the most powerful sermons I have ever heard. This anointed pastor concluded his sermon based on John 15:5 with a beautiful story. I would love to share it with you today, for it changed my perspective on truly trusting God with every fiber of my being, in every area of my life.

There once was a young girl, who purchased a very special set of imitation pearls with her hard-earned allowance. She loved these pearls. Everywhere that she went, the pearls were to be found. Everyone that knew this little girl, knew her fondness of this precious necklace. Every night, her Daddy would come and tuck her in before she drifted off to sleep...with these precious pearls in her hand. On one particular night, her Daddy said:

"Darling, do you love me?"
She replied quickly: "Oh Daddy, you know I love you!"
"Then give me your pearls," he said.
Clutching the necklace tightly, she wimpered: "Oh Daddy, I can't do that. Please don't take my pearls."
"It's okay, honey. I love you. Goodnight." The next night, her Daddy came to tuck her in. Once again, he asked: "Precious daughter, do you love me?"
"Yes, Daddy, you know I love you!"
"Then give me your pearls."
"Daddy, please, you can have anything in this whole room. I'll even give you my favorite stuffed animal. But please, please don't take my pearls."
"It's alright, sweetheart. I won't take the pearls. I love you so much. Goodnight." The next night, the young girl's father came into her room as he always had done and found her lying in bed holding the pearls close to her heart. She had been thinking all day about these pearls and how much they meant to her. For she just knew that perhaps she could never live without them. But, tonight...would change her life. Before he could say any word at all, she looked at those prized pearls and gently handed them to him saying:
"Here Daddy. I love you, and I want you to have these. I'm giving them to you." And her father, with tears in his eyes, took those imitation pearls and said: "I love you, too. More than you know. I want the best for you." And after saying those words, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a delicate velvet box, and handed it to her. And inside the box was a beautiful, genuine pearl necklace, more beautiful than she could have ever dreamed.

For only when the young girl was able to give her most precious possession to her father was he able to bless her with something far better than she could have ever imagined. He replaced her imitation pearls with beautiful, genuine pearls. She had to trust in her father, knowing that he knew what was best for her, even though it required that she give up a precious and prized part of her life. Only then was he able to bless her.

What a beautiful picture of trust and surrender. What are you holding on to? What have you not completely surrendered to the Lord? Is there an area of your life that you are having trouble trusting Him in? Oh, ones of God, He can be trusted. He is a faithful God. Perhaps it is when we are willing to surrender even the most precious pieces of our lives to Him...perhaps the things in our lives of which we are certain that we could never live without. Oh may we never hold anything back from the Lord. May we be able to hold every desire, every blessing, every gift in the palm of our hands and pray: "Lord, I give it You. I trust that Your ways are best, and I trust that You love me. You desire the best for my life. I fully give every area of my life to you." Only then, dear one, can the Lord fully bless His children. Only then can we experience the abundance of what He has planned for us.

Out of trust comes a gift far better than even our minds can imagine. For we serve a God Who can be trusted. We serve an Almighty God Who promises that He will take care of His children. And we serve a God Who loves us far more than we can comprehend. Yes, surrendering every dream, every gift, and every plan can prove to be very difficult. But out of that obedient trust in our Savior's provision comes the opportunity to live a life of blessing, a life of peace, and a life of hope. Out of that trust comes faith for a new day, joy in even the worst of circumstances, blessings far beyond our comprehension, and hope for a glorious future ahead.

"But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!”
My future is in your hands."
Psalm 31:14-15

"Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you."
Psalm 143:8

" 'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord.
'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"
Jeremiah 29:11

Hannah Grace