Have you ever been so caught up in what you were doing that you forgot where you were going? I have. Talk about embarrassing. I am always telling my wife that she needs to work on being more aware of her surroundings. And here I am completely forgetful of why I am here. I tend to be a big picture kind of guy, but that is no excuse. I am of course talking about my purpose in life.
Maybe I am just that arrogant, but I have always believed that God had something wonderful planned for me. After all, I am a living example of the quote by A. W. Tozer, “God will not use a man greatly until He has first wounded him deeply.” My problem was that I thought that Tozer was talking about physical pain.
To be sure I have not experienced any great tragedy in my life. I am very well acquainted with hospitals and surgery rooms, but on the whole my life has been free of major catastrophes. It has only recently dawned on me that Tozer was not speaking merely of physical pain -with which I am well acquainted. Instead, Tozer (I believe) was speaking of wounds of the soul. The kind of wounds that David writes about in the Psalms. The kind of pain that Paul talks about in his epistles. What I can only describe as spiritual agony.
I once thought that I knew what that meant. Now I know different. I recently realized that I will never be a great preacher, a renowned teacher, or some famous scholar. Far from it. I have come to accept that God is not interested in my desires. Not because He is uncaring or distant, but because my desires are so mundane and petty. It is not that I desired recognition, but rather that I wanted to do something significant. The whole time I was missing what God considers significant; complete surrender.
I believe that is what Tozer was talking about. You see to be fully surrendered we must also be completely defeated. As long as I think that I have something to give or contribute, something of value in myself I am not surrendered. That, my friends, is a deep wound to my pride. It is once we realize that we are nothing but dirt that we can understand how amazing it is that God has taken an interest in us. Of all the things that we deserve, grace is not one of them. Mercy doesn’t even make the list. Ouch! The reality of how unworthy we are is painful.
In truth this is what I have been experiencing. As I come before God’s word I see that there is nothing good in me. No redeeming virtues. No positive traits. Nothing. That is what makes God’s grace so AMAZING! My only hope now is not that I would do wondrous things for God, but rather that God would grant me the grace to never disgrace His name. Not that I would be used of Him, but that I would hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”
Today I can say that I have been experiencing pain of a sort I never knew before. As God shows me His holiness and how short I come, I feel anew each day how unworthy I am. And yet God has not cast me aside. He has given me opportunities to serve Him. I have had the privilege of teaching His wonderful Word. In complete contrast to the normal rationale of any human logic I look forward to the wounding that God does through His Word. Not because I am masochistic but because I long to be used greatly. Not because I want to do something significant anymore, but because He deserves the best that I can give. And the best that I can give is my surrender. Surrender to His will and power that HE may do what would bring Him the greatest glory.
I cannot get so caught up in what I am doing that I forget where I am going. I am headed to eternity to praise Him and I need all the practice I can get! Lord, would that you wound me ever more deeply until surrender is my natural instinct!