Day 4 – Surprised by Joy
As Brother Lawrence wants to go deeper with God, he follows his faith journey to serve the Lord in a monastery. Yet he is anxious.
He anticipates the brothers would mock his awkwardness and his superiors would point out his imperfections. He even fears that God would crush him for his many failures and sins.
Focusing for so long on his limitations, he struggles with rejection and defeat.
Nonetheless, he concludes that his only hope is to give up life’s pleasures and offer himself fully to God. And when he surrenders to God, none of what he fears happens.
Harsh imaginations dissolve. Racing thoughts subside. Relationships develop.
What Brother Lawrence thought would be a negative experience turns out to be positive. God honors his faith and sacrifice and “satisfies [his] desires with good things” (Psalm 103:5). He is surprised by joy!
So he tells others that “God had fooled him, for he experienced only satisfaction” as a Christ follower. Humorously, he often told God, “You have tricked me.”
Growing up in a pastor’s home, I saw a lot of Christians who seemed full of problems and carried the weight of the world on their shoulders. They would receive prayer at the church every week, but apparently – in my boyhood eyes – nothing changed for them.
They were the last kind of people I wanted to become like. Non-Christians seemed to have all the fun.
As a teenager, I eventually encountered a group of young people who loved God and loved one another. They weren’t perfect, but they were real, and they had a relationship with God that was real. They had what I wanted.
Within three short weeks, I gave myself totally over to God. I prayed a short prayer: “Lord Jesus, I now make you Lord of my life.” Like moving a chess piece across the board, I transferred my will to God. To my surprise, this was the life I always wanted.
Like Brother Lawrence, what I thought was going to be a negative experience turned out to be very positive.
I resigned myself to God in faith and surrender. And God took me by surprise.
Question #1: How has God surprised you?
Question #2: What would a total surrender to God look like for you?
This is God’s Word for you today,