The altar is the only safe place for precious things…it’s the surrender place.
I learned that while struggling to find a place to hide a few precious things. I wasn’t sure I could trust God with them.
Don’t let my comment shock you. Haven’t you felt the same way?
Those precious things—precious ones—in your life…if you give them to God, will he take them? That’s our greatest fear, isn’t it?
One memorable day the Lord taught me a life-changing truth. Withholding my precious ones doesn’t guarantee I can keep them. God is sovereign. He does as he pleases. He can take my precious ones without my permission.
Suddenly it made sense to give them to him because the altar is the only safe place for precious things.The altar is the only safe place for precious things. Click To Tweet
At eighteen I landed my dream job writing for our local newspaper during college. I became friends with the receptionist, Freda Rose. (She later married Jack Wilhoit and enjoyed over fifty precious years with him before his recent home-going.)
There was something different about Freda—a peace and confidence in God I’d never before encountered. Returning from assignments, I often stopped at her desk to chat. As we shared our lives, whatever was happening, Freda would say, “I can’t wait to see how God works this out.” I’d walk away astonished by her faith.
I was a young bride when Freda told me the story about surrendering her life wholly to Christ after hearing Billy Graham’s message on Abraham and Isaac when she attended the Detroit crusade years earlier. She described the heart-wrenching decision to give her little daughter Donna to the Lord, fully expecting her to die that night.
That didn’t happen. Donna grew into a vibrant Christian woman, and we became life-friends as well.
Hearing Freda’s story, I made a mental note that someday when I had children, I’d have to surrender them, too. I had no clue how hard that would be.
One day Freda gave me a small book by Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender. I read it several times without grasping the meaning of surrender.
I left the newspaper when our daughter was born. Our son arrived nineteen months later. At church we had a sweet ceremony dedicating both children to the Lord. I thought that took care of the surrender-thing.
Living the most wonderful chapter of my life, I focused on being the perfect mom. I’d given my heart to Jesus at age seven and later affirmed that decision, settling my eternity forever by claiming the promise of Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Although I loved and cherished my little ones, I often responded to the daily challenges of parenting with anger and impatience. Something was missing. Where was all that joy and peace I’d heard so much about? I thought they were automatically part of the Christian life. I began searching for the answer, and God honored the promise of Jeremiah 29:13. “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
As I read books by Christian authors, along with studying the Bible, I came across several terms meaning the same thing: absolute surrender, total consecration, Christ-controlled personality, 100 per cent commitment, abundant life, Spirit-filled life, Lordship of Christ.
Tim LaHaye wrote in Understanding the Male Temperament that most Christians never make a 100 per cent commitment to God. They may give him as much as 97 per cent yet never yield their lives completely. Immediately I knew I was a 97 per-center.
I’d tried to give God everything in my life, including my husband and children, but I always tacked a condition to my prayer. “Lord, I surrender them, but you must not let anything happen to them.”Fear wouldn't let me pray without attaching strings. “Lord, I surrender my precious ones, but you mustn't let anything happen to them.” None of my commitments brought joy or peace. Click To Tweet
Fear would not let me pray without attaching strings, and none of my commitments brought joy or peace. God opened my eyes to see my way hadn’t worked. His voice in my heart suggested that withholding my precious ones didn’t guarantee I could keep them. Surrendering them suddenly made sense. The altar is the only safe place for precious things.
In prayer I made that surrender, not knowing what God would do but knowing I could trust him.
When Abraham placed his son Isaac on the altar—the child through whom God had promised to make a great nation—I doubt Abraham was grinning ear to ear. Surely it was a somber, heart-wrenching moment with questions spinning through his mind.
He didn’t know what God would do but he knew he could trust him.
Hebrews 11:17-19 says this: “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death” (NIV).
Abraham surrendered his child because he knew the altar is the only safe place for precious things.
What is surrender? I read that William Booth, founder or the Salvation Army, described surrender this way: “God shall have all there is of William Booth.”
Surrender–giving God all of me, becoming totally dependent on him–is the key to abundant life.
What are you withholding? Isn’t it time to place your precious things—precious ones—on the altar for safe-keeping?
Please leave a comment. And I’d be grateful if you’d share this with your friends!
© Dianne Barker 2019
(Scriptures from KJV unless noted)