Thursday, September 8, 2011

SURRENDER, PART FIVE

"God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them, but to cleanse them."  ~John Aughey

I was walking with a new hope, and getting stronger inside and out.  People would ask me why I was doing better, and I really couldn't answer. I just knew what I knew ~ that the hardest part of the journey was behind me, and that life was about to get better.  I still had moments of discouragement and frustration, but those were few and far between.

One day late in spring, I was entering the pool at the physical therapy office, and noticed an elderly man in the pool. As I stepped down into the water, he looked me in the eye and said, "You know, God will never give you more than you can handle." Okay....this is interesting, I thought to myself.

The man continued to talk to me as if he knew what I had been going through, and what I'd been struggling with spiritually. He told me I had a choice, and it involved my attitude. He said I could choose misery over my circumstances, or I could choose to dwell on all I had to be thankful for. He asked me if I'd ever thanked God for the ability to walk into physical therapy, a luxury that some didn't have.

He talked to me about my expectations. Had I been expecting to live a pain-free life simply because I was only in my thirties? Did I expect my family to be loving and supportive through this season? Did I expect to get better? Did I expect what I was doing in the pool to help in some way? And then he looked at me with a serious expression and said that if I had even ONE expectation about any part of my life, than that meant I hadn't surrendered that part of it to God. His words hit me like a ton of bricks...SURRENDER.

The man continued to talk...how I remembered all of what he said, I haven't a clue. I guess it's because everything he said was exactly what I needed to hear. He talked to me about God's will. He said that many ask him, "How do I know what God's will is for me?" He said that he always tells them, "Start with the areas in your life that you know are not in accordance with God's will, and release them to Him...then God will begin to show you His true will for you." And another ton of bricks came crashing down on me!

Next, this kind, older gentleman contronted me on the subject of worrying. He said that I worry too much about what my hip will be like ~ what my life will be like ~ years down the road. He said that the Bible talks about worrying about tomorrow, even in the Lord's prayer...give us this day our DAILY bread. "Julie," he said, "God wants you to take it one day at a time, and trust Him for all your tomorrows."

"Remember...we are just passing through. This world is not our true home. Let this give you hope!" He then threw in a dose of humor, and told me to think, "prayer and medication". He said that it was okay to feel weak and tired. And it was okay to medicate (something I had been determined to avoid ~ how did he know this?!).

This old man who called himself Benjamin looked intently at me and said he would be praying for me everyday, and he asked God to bless me. Then he got out of the pool and went into the men's restroom. I, on the other hand, stood waist deep in the water, wondering what had just happened. I was speechless. All I knew was that this dear old man had changed my life with his words, and I couldn't wait for him to come  out of the restroom so I could thank him. I waited and waited, but he didn't come out. After almost a half hour went by, I gave up. As I was leaving that part of the facility, a couple of the therapists were seated at their stations. I asked them if they knew who the older man in the pool was. I explained that he'd been in the restroom for a long time. They looked at me, puzzled. They had no idea who Benjamin was.

Again, if someone had told me what was about to happen next, I would have laughed at them...

"I will always show you where to go. I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places ~ firm muscles, strong bones. You'll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry."  ~Isaiah 58:11

"We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, 'Why did this happen to me?' Unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way." 
~Author Unknown                 

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