Our family is, once again, participating in our church's Christmas program. This year has been a little different from the last two. Although I knew it would be harder this year, I just wasn't expecting this much of a challenge. But, you know what they say about men and rivers right?
Taking the easy way makes them crooked.
I think God has a little (or a lot) of character straightening that He wanted to do in me this fall.
This year, Hope plays the dead girl. During the scene that depicts Jesus ministry and the many miracle's the final and most climatic scene is of Jarius' daughter being raised from the dead. It's a treasured part for most of the young girls on the cast and we were pretty sure she would love to have the role. When asked, we said "Sure, she'd love to."
Um, we were wrong. Really, really wrong.
For the next 20 minutes or so, Hope shrieked, as we practiced. I knew in my mama heart that she wanted to do this, I just had to figure out what was going on. When we got to the bottom of it, Hope was worried she'd have to die and really need a miracle to come back to life.
We reassured her that she didn't really have to die. That she wouldn't even have to be seriously injured (her next big concern), that she simply must act the part. Lots of practice in her daddy's arms later, she's got the role down and did an incredible job tonight on opening night.
As I have taken pictures and watched this transformation in her, I've been amazed. Not that my daughter is so great at this role (anyone who knows her knows she has a flair for the dramatic), but at the revealing nature of her fear. Because it's my fear too.
Jesus assures us that he is there for us. His arms are a safe place for us. That he would rather die than spend eternity without us. He asks us for one thing, complete and total surrender. He wants us to fall on him and die to...ourselves.
Oh, how that hurts. "Die to myself, Jesus. Can't I just play 'possum in your arms?" "Can't I just be mostly dead?"
But truly die to myself. Truly fall totally on him. Truly cry out to him every last bit of my being. Truly want him more than I want ANYTHING on this earth.
Sometimes I would rather scream and cry like a child than
give in to what He wants.
And as I ask myself why, the answer is simple: I forget His goodness.
What he's asking is everything I have and what he's offering is more than I can imagine. Tonight as I sit here remembering the love he poured out for us, I want to throw myself into his arms and surrender to the God who is truly good. Truly kind. Truly loving.