I have a tendency to want Jesus to be my savior, but I don't want him to be my Lord. I'm okay with letting him be in charge long enough to save me from myself and the trouble I get into, but it becomes more difficult to let him lead me through the hard places on the way to my ultimate haven. In essence I am saying, "Thanks for helping me through that last one. Now, you can be on your way. No, I do not want to go there with you. I am just fine staying here. I will call you when I need you. I think I can handle my own decisions."
I don't want to live that existence though. I want to follow my King and submit to him in all that he asks of me, even when I don't always understand it or agree with it and would not have chosen that path for myself.
Sometimes we think we are serving God, but we are serving our own gods. We have created an image of who we think God should and shouldn't be, and we expect the Creator of our lives to fit into the mold we have made for him. We have reduced God to a formula or a recipe. If I do this and this and this, then God has to do this and this and this. So, we practice our little rituals at the alters of our agendas in order to appease the gods we have deceived ourselves into thinking are the Creator God. Then, we get angry when our formula didn't produce the desired outcome and blame God because he didn't adhere to our limited perspective of life, goodness, and happiness.
When will we see that he is so much bigger than we are? When will we see that his goals and dreams for our lives are beyond anything we would ever even imagine for ourselves? We think we know what is good, but we only know what pleases us and makes us happy. Often, the very things that make us happy are destroying us in the process. God knows this. Just like parents sometimes have to take candy away from their children before they make themselves sick, God sometimes has to cause pain to keep us from getting sick or to heal us from the sickness to which we have already succumbed.
His greatest concern is for our complete union with him. That is where we will finally feel totally loved and accepted for who we are. That is where we will feel true peace and safety. That is where we will find purpose and meaning to our existence. That is where we will wake up and realize we have finally come home. That is where we will wonder why it took us so long to get there and why we resisted going because we thought we were safe in our own selves.
God will do whatever it takes to bring about our spiritual wholeness. He will even cause physical pain. It is not that he enjoys it any more than a mother enjoys holding her child down for an inoculation. But just as the mother knows what is best for her child in the big picture, so God knows what is best for us.
It is important to clarify that God does not cause evil. That is another spiritual realm that exists apart from goodness. However, he does cause pain. This is not a popular belief. People want to make it go away by saying that Satan causes pain. However,you have to come to grips with the fact that God actually inflicts pain on his children. It is a difficult thing to embrace. Can you trust a God who causes suffering? That is a question you will have to answer for yourself.
I have answered it with a resounding yes! I can trust that kind of a God. I can lay it all before him. I can surrender my family, my husband, my daughter, my career, my religion, my dreams, my life to this God. I can make him the Lord of my life and let him call all the shots without fearing that he will ruin it and make a mess out of it. I can do this because I know he is good and faithful and just and righteous and love. I cannot explain it to you, but I am not making it up. I know. I wish I could convince everyone of it, but I can't. It is their choice. They have to put all their eggs in one basket. They have to let go of their desperate need to control all their circumstances and outcomes. They have to decide that they are willing to make whatever hard choices he asks of them.
The good news is he saves us from mediocrity and a sub-par existence for the most fulfilling, centered, exciting life we could never dream of. If you want to pray a really scary and exciting prayer, ask God to do whatever he wants with your life, and then make the choices he asks you to make and go to the places he asks you to go.