Another guest blog today by my friend David e White. Make sure you check out his bio info below and go by his blog. Thanks again, David.
Abandonment, Unconditional Surrender, and Peace
by David e White
Today was a tough day. It got off to a rough start of heated discussion, where I was not at my best, following an extraordinarily full weekend where I emerged exhausted. Having said this, the past few months have been difficult as well. One of the complications over this season has been a slump in business, which has created negative impacts in finances (is it a good idea to tell the people that you serve that you are afraid of going broke?).
Finances are not the worst of the situation however, for as I confessed in my last post, I have an addiction to validation, so business slump also lands me in the land of employment neurosis (check out Viktor Frankl & Man’s Search for Meaning), wherein I begin to feel that I am useless and then life becomes meaningless – grand despair. This is dangerous ground for someone who has fallen, for coping mechanisms shout loudly to advertise momentary relief.
Naturally I would like to avoid despair. It is the lowest of all emotions and it has no bottom. Having said this, I note a paradoxical sense of peace when I begin to contemplate an unconditional surrender to God, and (dare I say?) let myself feel the despair.
Not quite ready for unconditional surrender this morning, I put on my hiking boots and my heavy pack and launched into an 18 km trek. I wrestled with my mind for most of the journey, but found myself reflecting on a passage in Lamentations (3: 25-33), and I returned with a deepened perspective (along with two blisters):
“God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times. When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst.”
“Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way…” (MSG)
The specific phrase that kept replaying in my head is recorded in the New Living Translation as: “…no one is abandoned by the Lord forever.”
For someone who wrestles with validation and has been deeply wounded through abandonment in the past, the thought of being abandoned by God did not sit well with me at first. Yet, I come to experience a paradoxical peace, as I contemplate what I know of God’s character. While experiencing the feelings of despair, the peace begins to emerge as I make my decision to be abandoned — abandoned to my Creator God – for He is worthy, and He is trustworthy.
I am noticing that despair strips away my hope for salvation in any other form and I am left with but one hope: God and God alone. Being abandoned to God is simple, though not easy. It is unconditional surrender, on my knees, with empty hands.
What hope for salvation/restoration/reconciliation do you hold out for? Are you ready to be abandoned?
About David e White:
I have over 20 years of executive leadership experience, but I’ve also been a laborer, salesperson, manager, and consultant – even a professional musician! I have experienced the thrill of rapid growth and prosperity, but also the pain of downsizing and recession. I have been the leader who made the magic happen – I’ve made the tough decisions – I have also been the guy that got blown up by decisions made by others, and even a few I made on my own. Through it all I have learned how to be resilient and thrive in the aftermath of both scenarios.
I write, speak and coach in the area of leadership and organizational resilience. My content is anchored in the bedrock of core values, and I have come to appreciate that grace and love are wonderful gifts. I work to inspire, encourage and equip leaders with principles for resilience. Principles that enable you to persevere adapt and excel through life’s challenges, change, uncertainty and crisis.
I would be delighted to have you as a companion on this journey. I post weekly at www.davidewhite.ca.
Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.
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