I didn’t understand. I had just returned home, too sick to continue my work in the small mud-brick hospital high in the mountains of Afghanistan. Twelve years of medical study and four years of investment in the people I loved had unexpectedly come to an end, leaving me with a host of burning questions.
Hidden amidst the questions of future health and career was a larger question. It came to the fore when a mentor asked me to pray through Romans 12:1-2. The verses invited full-bodied surrender, boldly declaring that to offer my body to God was my “logikos” – logical or rational – act of worship. But it didn’t feel rational. I had offered my body. And had come home broken. I thought God had promised to “satisfy [my] needs in a sun-scorched land and [to] strengthen [my] frame” (Isaiah 58:11). It looked like God’s promises had failed. Why, in the face of apparently broken promises, why, when it seemed I had nothing left to give, was it rational to offer myself again to God?
I set aside a weekend to pray through the two verses, but discovered that before I could again offer my body as a living sacrifice, I had to spend time being reminded of the qualifications of the one to whom I was to give myself. These verses do not come out of the blue. They follow 11 chapters describing God’s incredible plan, his mercy, his love, his wisdom. God does not expect us to randomly give ourselves to someone else – even to Himself. He tells us enough about Himself to show us that the only rational thing to do is to give ourselves fully to Him.
As I memorized and meditated on the four verses leading up to the command to offer my body, God helped me see how the most rational thing I could do was offer myself back to him. He helped me see how every bit of his character not only demanded that response but facilitated it.
Perhaps, like me, you long to have God at the center of your life, but struggle to overcome the fear that tugs at your heart and drags you away from surrender. What will be the cost? Maybe you feel you have too much to lose. Or nothing to give.
May I invite you to join me on a journey deeper into the heart of God?
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