"But now, O Lord, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand."
"For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;"
To come to the place of absolute trust - the laying down of one's life - is not a "once and for all" sort of thing. At least it has not been so for me. It is a process. A one step forward, two steps back walk - now following the winding path, now veering off on pathways of my own choosing.
It is a molding by a Potter whose ultimate goal is to make us more like Jesus. It is the work of a lifetime. It is for our good. But sometimes the pressing and shaping hurts, and we are confused and discouraged. Somehow we have gotten the idea that when we walk in obedience life will be, as the old saying goes, "just a bowl of cherries." I have fallen into that trap.
The shocking truth is, the Father is far more interested in making me all He created me to be than in my happiness. Happiness is an elusive thing. Just when we think we have it within our grasp we find it has slipped through our fingers like a vapor. What we thought would fill and satisfy, turns out to be nothing but an illusion - a poor imitation of real joy.
When faced with death on the cross, Jesus counted it all joy. He looked ahead and saw you and me, and the pain and suffering were not worth comparing with such a precious gift. Yes - we are the gift.
So I walk toward Him and release my imagined hold on happiness and control. I give Him the gift - of myself and my absolute trust.
"looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."