This past Sunday, I was reminded, how easy it is to mindlessly sing songs like “I Surrender All” in our time of worship and never give any thought to what it means to actually live that way. How willing I am on Sunday morning to give everything to God. How quickly I take it all back on Monday morning. If the song were written mirroring my life during the week it would read more like this:
I surrender SOME, I surrender SOME
Half-heartedly to Thee, my blessed Savior
I surrender SOME.
How simple it seems to surrender when all is going well in my life but how hard it becomes when it’s falling apart.
I had a friend, Traci, who died of cancer about two years ago and I think of her often. She was in her mid-thirties, had two wonderful little girls and a loving husband. I watched as she struggled with her battle against cancer and witnessed her walk of faith grow stronger and stronger with each passing day. Just months before she stepped into the presence of her Savior, she penned these words: I am looking each day for God; around every corner, in the sunlight and in the shadows I see Him. I feel His arms around me very close. If I were given the chance to choose this course my life has taken, do you know that I would actually CHOOSE this life? I never would have had the chance to see Him like this otherwise.
When Traci sang “I Surrender All”, she just didn’t sing it, she lived it! She understood what it meant to follow God without reservation, with eyes wide open, ready to receive whatever God had for her. Deep down at the core of who she was, she believed that God was GOOD no matter how things might seem. She tasted of His goodness and knew Him in ways I only dreamed about.
A few years ago, I came across some verses tucked back in the book of Habakkuk that took my breath away when I read them. I’m reminded of them as I think about Traci and the life she led. “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and cattle barns are empty, yet will I REJOICE in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
This was Traci’s way of life. No matter what might be taken from her, no matter how difficult the journey, she chose to rejoice in the God of her salvation. He was her strength and might; her strong tower. I watched as she journeyed, as a surefooted deer, from this life into the next with God at her side!
I thank God for allowing my path to cross Traci’s and for Sundays like this that remind me that it’s not what I say (or sing) but how I live!