“Living in the Moment”
“…shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” I Peter 4:19
Charles Swindoll recounts the following tale from Abel Ahlquist:
In the early part of the twelfth century, in the Dark Ages, a haggard old sorceress went to the papacy with six envelopes that she claimed had within them God’s revelation or the Roman Catholic Church. She appeared before the pope and said, “I will sell this revelation from God to the church for $500,000.” Well, they groaned, like you would, on the inside. And the prelates along with the pope, decided no, they wouldn’t buy it. And so in front of them she burned the first envelope to ashes. With a measure of excitement and anxiety the pope watched it burn up and began to rethink his answer as she said, “Now I have five envelopes. And I will sell you the five remaining envelopes which contain the future for the church of Rome for $500,000. My price has not gone down.” The murmured and talked among themselves and decided no. And she burned the second envelop leaving four. With an increased sense of anxiety there was a sort of low roar up among the clergy. And she said, “Now I have four envelopes left and for $500,000 I’ll sell ‘em to you.” And again, the answer was no. In predictable fashion she burned up the third envelop leaving three. And she did the same with the fourth, leaving two. And finally she said, “Now for $500,000 I’ll let you see the last two envelopes which contain the revelation of God.” Well, by that time, they couldn’t hold back so they agreed. And wouldn’t you know it. The contents of the envelope were written in Latin, and I can’t read Latin. So I can’t tell you what it said. I’m still wondering!
Well, wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy. I mean, buying an envelope with God’s clear revelation inside detailing the events and outcomes of our lives. Ah, not to be. Now you and I are left with living our lives fully in the moment, by doing what Peter said, “…entrusting our souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” The French pastor Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751) called it “the sacrament of the present moment,” making it our intention to live every moment of every day fully surrendered to Christ and His life for me.
A life of complete surrender then became the quest for Caussade. He went on to pen these amazing words: surrender is everything! Surrender of the heart to God includes every possible way of obedience to God, because it means giving up one’s very being to God’s good pleasure. Since the surrender is accomplished by unalloyed love, it includes in its embrace every kind of operation his good pleasure may bring to pass. Thus at every moment we practice a surrender that has no limits, a surrender that includes all possible methods and degrees of service to God. It is not our business to decide what the ultimate purpose of such submission may be, but our sole duty is to submit ourselves to all that God sends us and to stand ready to do his will at all times.
That is what it means to entrust yourself to Christ. It is confidently turning over every aspect of our lives to Him at each moment of the day and allowing Him, by the presence of His Holy Spirit, to direct the course of our steps. It is an intentional act that includes a lot of forethought. The practice of the Christian life will include moments of full surrender and moments of fleshly failure. Such is the plight of being confined to terra firma. But progress can and must be made in the course of our lives as we learn, through victory and defeat, what it means to live the “sacrament of the present moment” fully surrendered to Him.
That it NOT written in Latin! But it does take some effort. As the calendar turns to spring and the earth is once again transformed from darkness and slumber to new life, we can call to mind the process of our inner transformation, the quest to allow God to make us into new men and women who more accurately reflect the reality of Christ in our lives. Caussade calls it complete joy! I would agree.
Blessing on the Journey,