“Our will alone is our ownest own, the only dear thing we can and ought really to sacrifice.” P. T. Forsyth
I’d like to think that I have matured past the treasured toddler phrase, “Mine!” Yet God loves me enough to continually uncover new areas that aren’t fully, wholly surrendered unto Him.
Anyone who knows me at all knows that I love to give things away. I love to give away food, clothes, toys, essentially anything that is not immovable. There are very few things I have thought of as mine. Writing is one of those things, it seems.
After months of shoring up courage and working on a book proposal, I received word that it did not pass the final stage of approval. While it may seem silly, the news was deeply disappointing to me. I am an incredibly risk-averse and hidden person; as such, putting myself out there in such a vulnerable way took years of courage. I say all this not to garner pity, but because in this tender place, God is sanctifying me through small sufferings.
Far beyond my relatively small disappointment, friends are fighting their own far deeper disappointments. Friends who lost their far-too-young twenty year old daughter continue to face firsts without her; others friends at our church are fighting for the life of their precious twenty-month daughter with a rare and aggressive cancer.
Elisabeth Elliot defines suffering in a helpful and broad way as “wanting something you don’t have or having something you don’t want.” Suffering, big or small, cuts against our will. The deeper the love, the harder it is entrust it to the Father, and the closer we are approaching what P.T. Forsyth calls “our ownest own.”
I haven’t wanted something as much I wanted to write that book in quite some time. My friends would give anything to have another meal with their daughter. The young family at church is fighting for one more day with their toddler.
As I cried and processed these things which weigh heavily on my heart, the Lord was gracious to meet me. He reminded me that when I trust Him with my most tightly-held mines, I honor Him and am conformed to His likeness in new and deeper ways.
My Minest Mine
My minest mine is yours now;
It is bleeding in your hands.
I was holding onto it, but now
I’ve submitted it to your plans.
The quivering stuff of my will,
That which feels essential to me,
I was brave enough to open up,
And now ’tis given back to thee.
Another frontier of my heart
Claimed, under your control.
I trust you even when I feel
More naked and less whole.
By definition a sacrifice costs,
Must cut, must tear, must bleed.
Thus the pain assures my soul
You’ve grabbed a deeper seed.
For I’ve no right to “Mines,”
Not even the deepest variety;
For you bled to call me Yours,
A title of sacred sobriety.
My ownest own is Yours now,
‘Tis safely in Your possession.
Have all of me over and over
In most glorious succession.
Christ had the right to call all creation, “Mine.” Yet, he made Himself weak and vulnerable, taking on the form of a fragile human. He made and lost real friends; He laid down real gifts and rights; He risked His tender heart and received blows when He should have received been receiving bows.
He called our Cross His so that He could say of us, “Mine.” Now, we have the honor of sacrificing even our deepest wills to Him. This is the strange, sacred way of the Cross.
Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief.