Have you ever asked God, why did You give me this gift only to take it away? I have. There was a woman who recognized that God was at work in her hometown through a prophet who often passed through. She welcomed him with meals as he did so and eventually, I imagine, wanting to be supportive, persuaded her husband to also build a room for him to stay in as needed. She was a simple woman. She had a heart for God and His work. She wasn't afraid to contribute her resources and give of her energy.
One day the prophet comes to her and asks if she needs anything. Years have gone by, perhaps decades, since she has buried her hope against the pain of never conceiving a child. "I need nothing." She says. But God knows her heart and what she has ceased to ask for. He tells her she will have a son the following year. God SAW her buried pain and gave her a GIFT.
But years later, the child suddenly dies. She didn't ask for this son, this hope. She had been content in her daily grind to serve the Lord daily by what could be measured in time and resources. Yet He gave her this child anyway. And then He allowed him to die??? Why I ask?
In her room and board service, it seemed like surrender and a life committed to the Father's work. But He knew her heart better than she knew herself. Was it surrender or just hopeless acceptance? The Father longs for full surrender based on your love relationship with Him not in order to earn relationship with Him. The Father wants you to move past an identity in what you do and into an identity of His love for you. Did He give her this child to break down her walls? Did He know it was the only path to unlock her pain... her hope... to open the door to her vulnerability.... of learning to really love by loving a little human and being loved... to draw her closer to Him? This is His real goal in all things-for you to learn to know Him intimately and His never ending love for you. Each intimate encounter, every pregnancy, each birth, each life and every loss cracks into your shell and teaches you a little more about yourself and a bit more how to really love and be loved if you allow it.
She lays the child on the very bed she had built for the prophet, the very place she was promised this gift she had not asked for. She lays down the gift. And takes off to find the prophet. She is in deep distress and he recognizes that in her. She doesn't even demand that he heals her son. She is simply.in.distress. "Why," she asks?? The prophet goes back home with her. He prays to the Lord on his behalf.. "The boy she did not ask for but received came back to life."* God SAW her distress and gave her LIFE.
I'm not promising that what you are laying down on the "altar" and giving back to God will come back to life the way you are hoping. I can promise that there IS life on the other side BECAUSE He comes to give life, beauty for ashes, turn mourning into dancing. He has the final say in all things. (His Word declares this and more.) Sometimes He gives us back what we have laid back down. Sometimes He does not. I've have been on the receiving end of both and I can say with resolution, He is faithful in both. I know it is hard. I know you may lay it down, pick it back up and have to wrestle to lay it down again. Don't give up. I'm thankful to have people in my circle to remind me of His Word, His promises, who He is, to be real, to cast my cares to Him and reroute my wrong stories into right ones. Friends who do life with you are instrumental butYOU have to CHOOSE to tell yourself His truth and rewrite your wrong stories for His story. God SEES you and He LONGS for you to surrender anything that is blocking you from fully reaching out to Him, putting Him first in your life above all others. With great pain can come great healing.