Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn’t, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:23-24)
I am less likely to get lost if I know where I am going. If I understand what is expected before I set out on a journey, I am less likely to attempt to escape the hardship of the journey than when I am caught totally unaware at some blind turn. I guess Jesus knew that about us - we need some idea of what is ahead if we are to even take the first step. I don't know about you, but if I want to let him lead, I have to do a whole lot of letting go and that isn't always that comfortable. I remember a good friend of the family taking me out on this huge rope swing that was attached way up in a gigantic oak tree. The swing went way out (and I mean way out) over this huge canyon. The drop was gigantic and it was super-scary, but oh so awesome. I remember him telling me to just enjoy the ride. In essence, he was telling me to let him keep me safe as he swung me out there. My body was securely placed between the rope and his - I was safe. Sometimes God does the same thing with us - he asks us to just trust him with what seems like some pretty scary stuff - to let him take the lead. What we do next makes all the difference in how we experience the ride!
What good would it do to get everything we want and then lose it? That is a very good question and perhaps one we should use as a 'check and balance' kind of question from time to time. There are times when we find ourselves swinging out over huge canyons - about to wet ourselves from the fear of it all - but in a brief moment God asks us to just trust. We don't want the scary stuff, but without it we don't realize the good stuff just beyond. As I looked down into the depths of that vast canyon, do you know what I saw? Beauty all around! There was so much to be taken in that my senses were overwhelmed with the beauty of it all, but before I enjoyed the beauty I had to trust the one who was taking me for the ride. We try so hard to get 'everything' - thinking we want this or that - but in the end, what beauty was added in the 'getting'? Our lives are not something to be trifled with - they are a gift from the creator of all things. We twitter away our lives trying to 'get everything we want' in life, only to find the ride revealed nothing of the beauty we hoped for. Why? We led and he did not.
We go through life getting things backwards - trying hard repeatedly instead of letting go, holding onto what God tells us won't get us to the place we desire to experience. We want it all, but we don't want to submit to the methods God uses to give it all to us. I don't know about you, but this struggle is real in my life. I want God's best, but I used to think I had to get it by my own efforts somehow. The moment I realized he was telling me to just get securely between him and the rope, the ride would be much more enjoyable. He'd have the control and I would enjoy the outcome. I don't who else needs to hear this today, but hear it clearly - we can TRY all we want, but if we ever want to see something DONE then we need to trust the one who has already done it! Just sayin!