“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory which comes from the Lord…” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV 1984).
Every morning I verbally surrender my life to God: “All I am, all I have, all my dreams, all my plans, all those I love.” The key word is verbal since this prayer includes a whole lot of stuff I continue to grasp to myself. One particular holdout that I have not been able to relinquish is my desire to get enough sleep. If I get less than seven hours at night, I am grumpy and unkind the next day. In fact, if it looks like I may not get enough sleep one night, I start being stressed and unkind the night before. Not good for a doctor who has taken night call all his life.
Well, yesterday I was so time-stressed that I woke up at 3:30, couldn’t sleep, got up and began work to catch up. But this time I told the Lord, “I give you my sleepiness today and I will not take it back.” I was certainly sleepy all day, but the stress and anger and unkindness that usually goes with my lack of sleep was gone.
For St. Augustine, prior to surrender, it was sex. “I was not so much a lover of marriage as a slave to lust.”
For each of us, there are areas in our lives that we hold to ourselves and only with God’s power do we give them up. Surrender is a difficult thing when we cherish our weaknesses. Unfortunately these weaknesses cover up the glory of Christ that we might otherwise demonstrate. We are like people at a masked party who hold up our weaknesses to our faces and inadvertently cover up the Lord’s reflection. We refuse to relinquish the masks. Like Augustine, that which we hold to ourselves becomes our master. Whether it is sleepiness or lust or money or pride or possessions or inappropriate relationships, we hold to control; but, in truth, we are controlled by them.
I need to search my life and discover those areas that I cherish too much to surrender. I need to find them and hand them over with Augustine’s prayer:
“Oh, that I may find my rest and peace in you! O, that you may come into my heart and so inebriate it, that I would forget my own evils and embrace my one and only good, which is you.” Confessions Book I, Chapter 5.
For even though something benign like sleepiness or pride may not seem evil, when it covers up the reflection of God’s glory in me, it does indeed need to be surrendered. Am I willing to let it go?
Help me surrender the areas in my life that cover up the reflection of Jesus.