I am a glutton. And I blame God for that.
Because I’ve tried really hard to eat right. I’ve gone through every tactic in the book in hopes of losing weight.
But of course it hasn’t worked, because I’m the weak one. I can’t do this in my own strength! I need God’s power, God’s grace, and all that.
It can’t be my fault if I’m stuck in sin, but God gets all the credit if I get free. That doesn’t make sense. If God gets credit for my successes, He gets credit for my failures, too.
So when I look up and find myself still knee deep in my addiction, it’s God’s fault for not helping me enough.
All the stops
After all, look at how much God helped people in the Bible.
Like, for instance, King Saul before he was king. In 1 Samuel 10, Saul is anointed the very first king of Israel.
Samuel the prophet marks the historic moment with a prophecy. He tells Saul of not one, not two, but three signs that God will make happen to prove to Saul that he is truly the one selected to be king.
God makes Himself really clear. These are hard signs to miss. Specific questions, processions of prophets, men bearing gifts. It sounds wild, but each and every sign happens to Saul on his way home.
And then the best part.
“God changed Saul’s heart, and…the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him.”verses 9-10
God touched Saul where it counted, in his heart. Saul became a new person (verse 6) – a man led by God, a man who would be king.
Cut to: the night of nights. At a large ceremony, Samuel is announcing to all the Israelites who their next king will be. He announces Saul’s name! Everyone turns to watch their next king stride confidently toward the front!
Samuel calls for Saul again, and someone in the crowd reveals what’s happened:
Saul was hiding.
Yes, really. Saul, the man who was anointed by God, blessed with many signs, and who had even had his heart changed by God, was hiding. From his calling, from his responsibility.
After all He’d done for him.
A consensual relationship
If it were all up to God, our lives would probably look a lot differently than they do now.
But we get stuck in sin and addiction and pain not because God hasn’t done everything in His power to rescue us (because He has), but because we won’t surrender.
Saul hid that day because of fear. He was so wrapped up in himself and who he was – his lowly tribe, his unimpressive family, his belief that there was no way he had what it took to be king – that he wasn’t relying on God. He wasn’t surrendered.
He had done it once. When the Spirit of God came upon him the other day, Saul prophesied. He praised and worshipped God. He was filled with faith. He had welcomed God into his heart, his life. He had accepted God’s direction for his future.
But once surrendered is not always surrendered. For a moment, Saul wavered. He held back. He pushed God away and tried to take back control. Back in his comfort zone, he hid.
And I wonder if Saul and I don’t have a similar sort of problem. Am I focusing on myself? Harping on the tactics I’ve tried to lose weight. Bemoaning all the effort I’ve put in.
Maybe we have all, like Peter hundreds of years later, begun looking at the wind and the waves instead of at God.
Maybe the missing piece is dropping everything – tactics, pride, and all the gates we’ve kept around the other areas of our lives. Maybe the forgotten step is allowing God to take the driver’s seat in our lives.
Maybe we did it once, but neglected to do it again and again and again.
Because God does have all power and all strength to do anything in our lives.
But nothing will happen unless we tell Him “yes”. And everything will stop happening as soon as we say to Him “no”.
“I am waiting for you to let Me change your life.”
I am a glutton. But it was pride that had me blaming God and placating myself. I need to surrender again.
Thankfully, God is still out there, waiting for me. I haven’t ruined my last chance. All hope is not lost for me.
Samuel called for Saul again. His fellow Israelites nudged him, urged him on.
And Saul surrendered.
He stood up and came to the front. He stood before the people. And like nothing had happened, he was pronounced Israel’s king.
God didn’t hold it against him or take His decision back. He reminded Saul of all He had done. He comforted Saul, maybe through an encouraging smile from someone.
And then He was patient.
Our God, our patient God, is the same today as He was with Saul. It’s almost funny, because the goal is surrender but there’s so much autonomy involved in it.
We have to make the choice. We have to keep saying yes to God, day in and day out.
And until then God will be here, loving us, urging us.
What do you think? How often do we need to surrender to God?