“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.
After a doozie of a year, God has exposed hidden “mines” throughout my life. Nearly a year of Zoom schooling, socially-distancing, and cancelling plans have shown me how much “mine” remains in my life. My alone time. My exercise routine. My pastimes. My idea of college ministry. My imagined vision of my boys’ middle school experience.
Far beyond my relatively small disappointment, friends are fighting their own far deeper disappointments. Friends have lost loved ones to Covid and cancer. Other friends are facing depleting savings and prolonged unemployment or the mental strain of being single in an isolating world in a terribly isolating time.
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.”
While we always welcome a new year, I am convinced there has not been such collective longing for a fresh turn of the calendar year in decades. The days leading up to and directly following New Year’s Day are full of good intentions and vows. Normally I, like many of you, like to ask the Lord to give me a word or theme for the upcoming year; however, this past year has me gun-shy regarding plans or intentions of any kind. I know now, more than ever, that my plans are no match for His purposes.
As such, I am making it my goal to keep offering God my mines as often as he exposes them in the upcoming year. 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.