Thursday, March 14, 2013

Open Hands - Relinquishment - Part 4

Relinquishment is always a part of the process of maturing.   When Christian parents have done all that can be done to shape their children for God, the time comes when the hands must let go.  The child, now a responsible adult, must be released.  For any parent this is painful, even when the child is moving in the direction the parents prayed for.  The child's continued development, and the spiritual health of the parents as well, depend on the willingness to accept this next stage of the cycle -- hands off, ready to part without a struggle, giving up authority and control, entrusting that child to God.

When, on the other hand, the child has obviously rejected what the parents have taught, the severing is painful in the extreme.  All has been done that could be done and all has been done in vain.  Nevertheless the time comes to let go, as it came for the father of the prodigal when he turned his wayward son over to God.  He must have foreseen the direction he would take, but he prayed for him and waited every day for his return.  God cared for that young man as the father could never have done, brought him to bankruptcy (another severe mercy), and returned him to his father, repentant and willing even to be a mere servant. 

It is merciful Father who strips us when we need to be stripped, as the tree needs to be stripped of its blossoms.  He is not finished with us yet, whatever the loss we suffer, for as we loose our hold on visible things, the invisible become more precious --where our treasure is, there will our hearts be.

He may be asking us to sell a much-loved house, to part with material things we no longer need (someone else may need them), to retire from a position in which we feel ourselves irreplaceable, to turn over to Him fears which hold us in bondage, forms of self-improvement or recreation or social life which hinder obedience. 

"Does all this seem hard?" asks Lilias Trotter, "Does any soul, young in physical or in spiritual life, shrink back and say, 'I would rather remain in the springtime -- I do not want to reach utnot he things that are before if it means all this matter of pain and dying.'

"To such comes the Master's voice, 'Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer' (Rv 2:10,).  You are right to be glad in His April days while He gives them.  Every stage of the heavenly growth in us is lovely to Him; He is the God of the daisies and the lambs and the merry child hearts!"

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