The following is Part 6 of a seven week “Reality Radio” series. The series was advertised on secular radio and unfolded online at a special website that no longer exists.
I could surrender. Or keeping swimming upstream on my own. Or I suppose I could just go numb. I knew what it was like to go numb…it’s like dying a live death…I knew I didn’t want to do that. But I so wanted to hold on to my life and what was comfortable. I did not want to face the prospect of losing my life. There was only one problem…I was already losing my life.
It seems that when I started out on this prodigal journey, the path seemed nice and wide and clear. No bumps in the road. Complete freedom to choose which way to go. But as I searched more and more for spiritual peace and the specific purpose for my life, that wide path of “anything goes” narrowed to a thin line. The thinner that line became, the fewer my options became. Suddenly, the line was so thin that it was almost like balancing on a high wire. I would have to fall one way or the other…I would have to fall toward surrender to Christ…or fall away from Him.
I was battling God trying to negotiate my own independence with the very Person who made me and gave me life. He did not move. He simply held out the same invitation that is revealed throughout the Bible – the invitation for people like you and me to turn from our lives, come toward Him, give up control of our lives…and surrender to His will for our lives.
That night. I will never forget it. It was fall and cool outside. I had been resisting God for weeks. I knew the decision He was calling me to. I did not want to turn away from Him…I did not want to walk away. The Bible tells the story of a Rich Young Ruler who had so much wealth and so many material possessions that despite his curiosity in Jesus…he couldn’t surrender to Jesus. The story says, “Jesus smiled and loved him.”
This young man is walking away from Jesus…refusing to accept the invitation…and Jesus does not get angry or judge him. He made his own decision to reject Christ. All Jesus could do is smile and love him. That is the heart of God. He never turns us into a robot…He always respects our own freewill. In this sense, we do have complete freedom to make our own choices in life. Yet the Bible also says that Jesus is the only way to Heaven – the only path through which we can be with God the Father forever after we die. And we have the freewill to choose to be with God forever…or to be separated from Him forever.
I do NOT want to be separated from God forever! I do NOT want to refuse Christ. I do NOT want to be so caught up in temporary things that I miss the forever things. So late that fall evening, as I was resisting this invitation to surrender for fear of how much it would cost me…I finally let go. I surrendered my whole life to Jesus.
The pain was great. I was thinking about the lover I would have to say goodbye too. I was thinking about the pain of that process…and how lonely I would be…and how much I would long to be with the one I loved. I wept but that “something” inside of me that wanted to be like the Rich Young Ruler and walk away just…it just melted…and before I knew it I was surrendering my entire heart and life to Jesus.
Jesus taught, “If you seek to keep your life, you will lose it. But if you lose your life for my sake, you will gain it.” No longer had I mouthed the words of surrender that God’s Spirit filled me up and radiated His presence throughout my being. This unbelievable joy – in the midst of pain – this gain – in the midst of loss – just filled me with the greatest joy and peace that I have ever known.
I kept weeping from being totally immersed in God’s love. It’s like He was saying to me, “You’re mine. I love you my child. I care about you and I will comfort you always. I will never leave you. I will never, ever forsake you. You are mine.”
I was finally free. I was finally at true peace. This was not the peace of freedom that filled my heart at the beginning of my prodigal journey. It was the deep abiding peace of God’s presence that had come to live inside me. In that prodigal place of personal freedom, a longing called me to fill my heart with all kind of things that won’t quench the thirst we all have. In this place of returning home, the longing…the desires…the needs…the aspirations…all of these places of my heart were perfectly filled with peace.
I was finally home…
NOTE: Tune in each week as Will’s story continues to unfold in seven (7) weekly segments. Click here to easily navigate to Week 7.
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