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Abandonment to God

by David A. DePra

     "To abandon" means "to leave alone; to desert." Thus, if God

were "to abandon" us, He would be leaving us alone. Of course,

God will never do this. God will never abandon any one of us.

Yet despite the fact that we will never be abandoned BY God, we

we must nevertheless abandon ourselves TO God. Abandonment

TO God. What does that mean?

     "To abandon" ourselves TO God means that WE must leave

OURSELVES alone. We must take our hands off of ourselves, and

fall unconditionally into HIS hands.

     Now, that seems easy enough. But if you have walked with God

for awhile, you have found that it is NOT quite that easy when the

time comes. In fact, it can be the greatest trial of faith imaginable.

Why? Because it often seems that if we take our hands off, that

God won't be there to catch us. Afterall, we usually can see only

our hands letting go. We can't see the hands of God waiting to

catch us.

     There comes a time -- really many times -- in the Christian walk,

when we know we must abandon ourselves to God. We know that

we are being called out of our present place -- spiritually and/or

physically. We know we must GO. But we have no clue as to where

we are going. And we have no visible assurance that God is with

us. We must then choose. Will we play it safe and refuse to move,

or will we abandon ourselves to God?

A Crossroads

     Actually, when God calls us to abandonment, it is a crossroads.

When we get to that crossroads, we cannot turn back. We have

been brought there by God and all of our spiritual bridges have

been burned behind us. We know too much to plead ignorance.

We learned it getting to the crossroads. Our only course now is to

move forward to one of two paths ahead of us.

     The Christian life is one of growth in the grace and knowledge of

Jesus Christ. And as we grow we will reach this or that crossroads.

The choice is never whether to go on or turn back -- anymore than

a child can choose to grow or not grow. No. Just as a child

chooses -- not whether to grow -- but what to become THROUGH

growth -- so we cannot choose WHETHER to go on. We can only

choose which path we will take AS we go on.

     The one path is that of faith. It is the more narrow of the two ways.

And initially, this path is dark. We cannot see where it is going.

Only steps ahead, this path fades into darkness and uncertainty.

Indeed, it looks as if there is a large chasm just steps ahead on

this path, into which we must jump if we take this path. As we try to

focus our eyes to the darkness, we cannot seem to get oriented or

adjusted to what lies ahead. And that is scary.

     The other path is that of unbelief. It is a wider path. It looks much

safer. In fact, we can see quite a long distance down this path. It

has many familiar objects along the way. We can even see where

this path ends up -- or at least we think we can see that. It pretty

much ends up where we want it to end up. It ends up with us living

where we want to live -- spiritually.

     How do we know which path to take? Isn't it a bit crazy to jump to

the conclusion that God wants us to take the dark path? Maybe this

time He is making an easier way. How can we know?

     Actually, the confusion clears up once we stop and pray about it.

Then we see that there were road signs right in front of us all the

time. The sign pointing down the road of unbelief says, "The way of

unbelief." The sign pointing down the road of faith says, "The way

of faith." Things become just as clear to us as we are willing to

allow God to make them.

     But wait. What kind of weird signs are those? They don't tell us

WHERE the paths lead. All they tell us is the motivation necessary

to travel them. This makes it tough because we like to know

where we are going -- even before we start out. But the road of

faith does not have a sign which tells us that. It gives no indication

of where it leads, or what I am going to encounter along the way.

It only tells us WHO will be leading us. This means to take the path

of faith, we must abandon ourselves to God.

Abandonment to His Will

     The walk of faith is a walk where I don't know where I am going,

but must trust the One leading. In fact, as I travel the walk of faith, it

won't even seem like God is leading. It will seem like I'm alone.

     Notice the word "seem." What do we mean when we say it

"seems" like God isn't with us?

     Well, we mean that we have no proof that God is with us. There

is nothing our senses can discern. There is nothing in our emotions

which "feels" like God is around. Perhaps as we gaze into the

darkness ahead of us, all we can "feel" is fear and uncertainty. Or

maybe as we stand over the great chasm into which we must jump,

all we can think of is the fall, and hitting bottom. It sure doesn't

"seem" like God is with us. It sure "seems" like this whole thing is

a crazy idea, rather than faith.

     There comes a time in the Christian walk when the only reason

we can give for believing God is with us is to say, "Because He

said He would be with us." We have no proof and we have no

assurances we can see. We have only His promise.

     Now what exactly IS that promise? To be with us. Yes. But wait.

Saying "God will be with us" is actually somewhat backwards. God

does not so much promise to "be with us" as He promises that "we

will be with HIM." After all, HE is the One doing the leading. We are

the one being carried along.

     Notice what this really means: When we abandon ourselves to

God, we are abandoning ourselves to HIS will. We are NOT

abandoning ourselves to God to get Him to do OUR will.

     There is a big difference. God never promises us that if we trust

Him, He will do what WE want. No. He promises us that if we

will utterly abandon ourselves to Him, unconditionally trusting Him,

that He'll do HIS will. And why would we want anything else?

     Now we can see why the path of faith is dark: We often don't

KNOW what the will of God IS. We only know the path of faith leads

to it. And God tells us that this is sufficient. It is His way with us in

this age.

The Path is God's Will

     The path of faith isn't a path which merely leads TO God's will. It

is more a path which IS God's will.

     To say it another way, we often think that the WILL of God is at

the end of our journey. But it is not only at the end. The will of God

is likewise the journey ITSELF.

     That is an important distinction. Too often, we think in terms of

the END of a matter being God's real purpose. The END is very

important. But with God, there really isn't an END unless there is

a means to that end accomplished along the way.

     The real Truth of this in the Christian walk is found in our spiritual

growth. We do not grow spiritually once we reach the end of our

journey on the path of faith. No. We grow because we have walked

the path of faith to begin with. At the end of the journey is something

which necessitates the growth we realized along the way!

     The path of faith holds many obsticles, contradictions, and

choices we must make to continue. As we overcome these we

grow. And yes, at the end of the journey we will receive the fullness

of God's will. But only because along the way we became fit for it.

Thus, by taking the way of faith, we do not merely RECEIVE

something at the end. We do. But more importantly, we BECOME

something in Christ along the way -- and this makes us able to

RECEIVE. Thus, the path of faith not only leads TO the will of God,

but it IS the will of God!


     The darkness surrounding God's will is not because God is

being coy with us, like He is playing a game with us or something.

No. If God were to show us the beginning from the end we would not

recognize it. At best, we would think we knew what we were seeing,

but would be deceived. The only way to discover what is on this

path of faith, and what is at the end, is to walk it, step by step. Then,

as we grow, we will understand.

     Abraham had such an experience. Notice the words of the

writer of Hebrews in reference to God's call to Abraham:

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which

he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out,

NOT KNOWING WHERE HE WAS GOING. By faith he sojourned

in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in

tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same

promise. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose

builder and maker is God. (Heb. 11:8-10)

     Abraham WENT OUT, but did not know WHERE HE WAS

GOING. He simply knew the One who had called him. This is why

Hebrews says he did all of this BY FAITH. Abraham was at the

crossroads. He was choosing to take the path of faith.

     This was abandonment to God. Abraham jumped and trusted

that God would catch him -- even though he could not see God

down there, waiting with outstretched arms. In fact, once Abraham

went out, things did not get much clearer. He had not only come

out of where he was by faith, but then he had to live in "the land of

promise" by faith.

     In those days, a person's entire future was wrapped up in their

physical inheritance. Lands were the primary source of wealth. To

walk out of the place where your land was -- land that had been in

your family for generations -- into a foreign land, was a very real

abandonment to God. Abraham was leaving everything behind

with nothing but a promise from God that he would receive a better


     Now notice: Abraham could not see the place God had for him

from the place he "went out from." No. He had to leave that place

and utterly abandon himself to God. He had to take the path of

faith and start out on a journey. Only then could he finally see the

inheritance God had for him, and for his decendants.

     This is a message for us. If you want to SEE Truth; discover what

God is all about, you must come out when God calls you out. He

CANNOT show it to you from where you sit. You only see it, and

then are fit to receive it, if you come out from where you are, and

travel the path of faith over to where it is.

     There is, however, a great cost here. Do you see it? You have

to leave behind all of your natural inheritance. All this life offers to

you. Only then can you receive the inheritance God freely gives

to you.

     Note that the inheritance is a done deal. It is finished. God has

given it to you. But it is "over here." You cannot, and will not,

embrace it as long as you stay in your natural inheritance. You

must pay the price of walking away from that old inheritance, which

is worthless anyways, and start down the path of faith if you want

to enter into the inheritance God has freely given in Christ.

     Abraham went out "not knowing where He was going." But

again, he knew the One leading. And because he took this path of

faith, he is known as "the father of the faithful."


     Picture yourself in this difficult position. You are a Christian, and

have been, for years. One day, you lose all of your possessions.

Worse, you lose all of your children. All of them. And then, to top it

all off, you lose your health. You are not only suffering emotionally

and physically, but you cannot find God. You have no answers and

you have no help. It seems that God has abandoned you.

     Things only get worse. Even your friends are telling you that God

has abandoned you -- but for good reason. You must have sinned.

That could not have happened to you unless you had sinned. God

would not have let it happen otherwise. But as honest as you are

trying to be, and as flawed as you know you are, you know you did

not sin. You did nothing to bring any of this on.

     Time passes. Lots of time. The more you try to reason this thing

through, the more dead ends you meet. You know God is totally

faithful, but how can a faithful God permit such things to happen?

There is nothing in your faith, and nothing in your beliefs, which can

reconcile what has happened to you with a faithful God.

     If you were a fake Christian, you could just get bitter and fade

away. But you aren't. You can't walk away from God. You can't.

But everything you are going through says that God has walked

away from you. And despite continual prayer, perhaps for years,

nothing is changing. There is no light and no movement from God.

You are in this thing and can't get out. You don't even have what

you need spiritually to survive in it. And you have no way of getting


     Job faced all of this. Everything was telling him that God had

abandoned him. Circumstances told him that and his friends told

him that. Even his wife told him that. Job considered what they said.

But he never accepted it as possible.

     One of the things it is easy to miss about Job is that despite his

expressions of despair, and his emotional reactions to his suffering,

God commends him at the end of the book. God says:

Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and

go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering;

and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I

deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not SPOKEN OF ME


     Despite Job's human reactions to his suffering, God stills calls

him "MY servant Job." And God says that despite all of those

expressions of suffering -- that Job had spoken rightly of God. He

had not -- in motive and in heart -- misrepresented God.

     This certainly shows how God looks at the heart. But how was

God able to say that? Hadn't Job doubted God?

     No. But Job had doubted his own interpretation of God. Job

knew that what had happened to him could NOT have happened if

what he believed about God was right. Job had believed that God

would never allow bad things to happen to good people. But bad

things HAD happened to good Job! And Job had no way to explain

it with his original, more limited knowledge of God.

Job finally reached a point at which he had to abandon his

beliefs ABOUT God. He had to abandon himself to God Himself!:

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye

sees thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

......And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his

friends. (Job 42:5-6,10)

     When Job finally left himself alone and in the hands of God -- as

evidenced when he began to pray for his friends, instead of being

focused only on himself -- God ended the trial. Job had made the

choice to unconditionally abandon himself to God. God then set

him free.

     Notice that at the end of the book of Job, God never gives Job

the answers he sought throughout his suffering. God never gave

him any information at all. But by that time, Job didn't need, and

didn't want, any information or facts about God. Why? Because he

saw God Himself. That was enough. God Himself was the answer.

Jesus Christ

     Jesus' entire life was an abandonment of Himself to God. But

perhaps the most profound expression of this is found in two

statements He made upon the Cross:

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matt. 27:46)

Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46)

     Can we see the incredible contrast between these two

statements? Jesus had, on the Cross, for the first time in all eternity,

lost His consciousness of His union with the Father. (The result of

having become the Lamb of God, who was bearing all of the sin of

the world.) Yet, at that very moment, He was able to totally abandon

Himself to God and say, "Into Thy hands I commend My Spirit."

     Do we actually think that Jesus had any idea of what it was like

to DIE? He couldn't have known by experience. And remember, the

dead cannot raise themselves. But Jesus had the promise from

God that He would be raised. And it was upon this word that He

was able to jump out over the chasm of death, and abandon

Himself to God. This was the ultimate act of faith.

     Have you ever felt as if God has forsaken you? I don't mean

that you actually BELIEVED it -- but have you ever "felt" that way?

Perhaps all of your circumstances are telling you that. Maybe

all of your emotions are saying that to you. Or maybe there is just

no other conclusion you can come to by thinking. But you know

better. You refuse to BELIEVE it. Instead, you ABANDON

your circumstances, your emotions, and your understanding. You

say to God, "I'm jumping out into your Hands. Into Your hands do

I commend my spirit."

     The fact is, God will catch us. He may let us free-fall for awhile,

but He will catch us. And the trip on down will build us up in Christ.


     It is not an abnormal thing to be brought to the place where I must

abandon myself to God. It is a fully normal experience for a person

walking with Jesus Christ. There are going to be numerous times

when I will come to a chasm which I cannot bridge with my

understanding, and which I cannot bridge with my emotions or

spiritual insight. In fact, I will not be able to bridge it at all. God does

not want a bridge. He wants a leap of faith. A leap of faith is not

presumption because presumption always thinks it knows where

God is leading. A leap of FAITH is abandonment -- not to where I

think God is leading -- but to God Himself. I jump and fully trust the

One catching me -- trusting that He will set me down where He wills.

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