I was reading a lesson on obedience this week while preparing my class for the ladies in recovery. (Yes, surprise, here comes more references to Maxie Dunnam) The book is called, Lessons From the Saints. I think we're in week 5 or 6 now.
Anyway, I've noticed that Dunnam quotes St. Francis de Sales extensively in this particular book. Some of it is beyond what I can grasp, but for the most part, it's deep, nourishing teaching for me.
So this week, quoting de Sales, Dunnam makes the point that obedience often means learning how to be content with being discontent for as long as God wills or permits it.
I'm certain I made my little "hmph!" noise as I read that sentence: "Obedience often means learning how to be content with being discontent for as long as God wills or permits it."
Later, he goes so far as to intimate that we are not only to endure times of suffering like brave little soldiers. No, we are to kiss the crosses.
You should have seen the faces in the room today when I said that. I'm certain I heard a few, "Yeah, right, Barbie...easy for you to say..." in response. LOL.
But it's true. Kissing the crosses demonstrates my ultimate trust in the Lord as I try to negotiate suffering in my life. Suffering is such an unnatural state for all of us. Yet as we attempt to kiss the crosses, we open ourselves up to an opportunity for the Lord's love and healing to work in us. (Oh yes, I am loving all of the theory behind these words.)
Of course, we need to understand that kissing the crosses is more about surrender than about "doing" something. It's about abandoning ourselves to God's will; to His control. It's about saying, pray, begging, pleading, "Use this, oh please, dear God, use this!"
Believe me, it's enough to start by saying to the Lord, "OK, I don't know how to do this, but I want to kiss the crosses" or "I want to want to kiss the crosses."
Obey God by living a life that is pleasing to him.
Abandon yourself completely to his will.
Trust him even in times of suffering. By his very nature, his character, his integrity, we at least should know that we can trust God.
Kiss the crosses.