November Gratitude Stone 26 Acceptance
When I was in high school my youth group had a sunrise service at the beach one Easter. There was a large wooden cross and we were challenged to write down some of our sins on a 3×5 card and nail them to that cross. Later in that time of worship we were encouraged to go over to a large stone, cut from cardboard, and take a piece of paper to receive a blessing from the tomb of the resurrected Savior. It was a very meaningful morning for me and I have never forgotten the word that I received: ACCEPTANCE. That word was not very well accepted by me at the time, which is actually ironic, considering the impact it has had on me for my whole life.
1 Tim 4:4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,
Accept with joy and a thankful heart is not so easy for people like me. People who are high need for justice have a hard time accepting things that are unfair. And yet, Jesus really valued mercy, gentleness and meekness and claimed it was THE way we as believers are to behave. We won’t always get our way, our fair share, or even have something work in our favor. Jesus said not only to expect that to happen, He went on and said the best way to handle life is with respect and goodness. Actually, we are to overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21). It is what should distinguish us.
I don’t know about you, but I like to be my own boss, make my own decisions, and choose my own way. Giving up control is just plain hard.Seems silly though doesn’t it? Our God knows everything, has all power, and in reality is in control of everything. “Surrendering” is simply acknowledging and yielding to the authority He already possesses. Besides, He loves me and wants what’s best for me. Oh, so simple. Yet hard to do because of my stubborn, selfish nature.
I am learning to accept that God is really the blessed controller of my life and His plans are better than anything I could have imagined. Acceptance with joy is the best way to reconcile the love I have experienced, the sorrow and brokenness of loss, the beauty and horror of this life, and that I have been given a tremendous gift that I do not deserve and that I have not always valued or cared for. Acceptance with joy allows life to be what it is without justification or expectation of change. It grants freedom to transcend as I sweetly surrender and live with an open hand. Surrender to Christ is sweet release. Surrender means no more striving or fighting. Just simple submission to God’s best for my life.
Finally, People have been trying to figure out the key to happiness probably as long as humans have walked the earth. Today, I will toss my two cents into that discussion. In order to be happy I think there has to be acceptance and gratitude. When we accept life, we accept that it is imperfect. People who have accepted life’s imperfection know that it isn’t what happens to them that matters as much as how they handle it.
All to Jesus I surrender with acceptance and a grateful heart.