Friday, July 3, 2009

The Power of Acceptance

During the past year, I’ve had a hard time walking, and at times I feel frustrated and sad. Once able to hike and run, now I struggle to go grocery shopping and to weed my yard. My once-strong knee is worn out.

Life is seldom easy. Some struggle with health, relationship, or money challenges. Others face rejection, loneliness, or disappointment. We can choose to allow these experiences strengthen or weaken us. One key to finding peace amid sorrow is discovering the power of acceptance.

By acceptance, I do not mean giving up, remaining in a dangerous situation, or condoning bad behavior. Acceptance is allowing God to refine and purify us as we endure suffering well. Acceptance is also recognizing that we—and others—are infinitely loved and infinitely valued by a Higher Power.

So, how do we draw upon the power of acceptance? I would suggest we can do three things to experience wholeness and beauty amid the trials of life.

First, we begin by believing that God knows us personally and that He loves us. When we are weak and weary, we may feel abandoned by God. Some may think that God has forgotten them or that if He loved them, we wouldn’t allow them to suffer. Consider what God has to say about how much He loves you: “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”

God will reveal His love for you if you ask Him. As you meditate on His words, you will experience His loving kindness. Scripture says,“But if you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Next, we need to trust that God has a purpose for us, that He will strengthen and comfort us as we turn to Him for help. This isn't always easy to do when we're afraid or over-whelmed. Sometimes we need a friend or family member to remind us that we're valuable and cherished.

If we feel alone, we can trust in God’s promise to us: “For I know the plans I have for you,"declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Now comes the harder part, surrendering ourselves to God. Most of us want to control our lives. Then something happens that we can’t control. Our knee quits working, we get really sick, we lose our job or our home, someone abuses us. How do we submit our hearts to God when we face serious adversity?

We surrender to God by trusting that He knows us better than we know ourselves. When we recognize that He can care for us better than anyone or anything in the world, we can give our hearts and lives to Him, knowing He will save us. Abraham surrendered to God by obeying God when asked to sacrifice His beloved son Isaac. Abraham trusted that God would raise Isaac from the dead if necessary, and God blessed Abraham by making Him the father of many nations and blessing Him with descendents that would become as numerous as the sands of the sea.

Mary surrendered to God when asked to become the mother of the Son of God when she was not married. “Be it unto me according to thy word,” she said, and generations have called her blessed.

Jesus surrendered all when He laid down His life for us. “Thy will be done,” He said, knowing that He would suffer more than anything a mortal man could endure. And, because of His total surrender, He made is possible for us to be resurrected and to live with Him again eternally.

Believing in God. Trusting in His perfect love. Total surrender to His will. It isn’t always easy to do, but when we ask God to help us discover the power of acceptance in our lives, He will. And He will help us do it over and over again, for life provides us with many opportunities to surrender our hearts to Him. In return, God gives us a heart filled with His peace, joy, and love.

© Carol Brown

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