A man’s own foolishness leads him astray, yet his heart rages against the LORD.
Proverbs 19:3 HCSB
I’m seeing this verse in a whole new light now. I always read it as fairly general, i.e., I chose poorly here, things went south, and then I blamed God for the suffering that was a direct consequence of my original choice. Typical humanity. But there’s another aspect at play here: the intactness of the will in the first place.
It’s not just how the will is exercised that affects our views of God; it’s the state of the will as a whole. I am experiencing an intact will for the first time in a LONG time, maybe since I was very small, and the impact on how I see God is stunning. I never realized just how much fear had a free ride on my soul due to the shattered state of my will. And that fear tainted everything and everyone. Because I had developed the habit of handing my will over to the people closest to me – or those who were naturally dominant – I NEVER felt safe. I was always afraid. When my will was not intact, I was my own worst enemy and I was complicit in nearly every violation of my person. That kind of fear is inescapable, and it extends to God too.
There’s quite a difference between fearing the Lord and being downright scared of Him. The first is healthy, while the second is an accusation. Every time I gave away my will, I ruined my life in some way. I was completely responsible! Yet I hated God for it. I couldn’t figure out how to stop doing it, so I blamed Him for it all. I continued fighting the accusation, even after I was born again. I couldn’t seem to shake it permanently. Every little while, it popped up. I began to despair that I would ever get to the bottom of my anger OR fear. But now? I feel like an abscessed tooth has been pulled!
That hideous fear doesn’t have a RIGHT to me anymore. In taking back my will, I closed the door to the fear. The whole world looks different now. I can’t believe how much power fear had over me! And now that it’s gone, nothing looks the same. Especially God. The taint is gone, and in the bright light of a fearless day, the accusation against God is ludicrous and depraved.
I am in control of one thing, and one thing only: my will. Everything else can be taken from me by force or manipulation, but my will has to be given. And where I gave it away, I’ve been taking it back. I have taken control of my life by setting my will in full and without regret, on the Rock. I know what it is now to have a house built on sinking sand. I was tethered to fear, and there is no solid ground to stand on when fear is the foundation.
The Holy Spirit has been working for years, in some ways my whole life, to bring me to this place. I now have an intact will to bow. I have an unsullied “Yes!” to proclaim. There is a wholeness to my heart that makes it both easy and laugh-out-loud joyous to give it all to God. He loved me into a true integrity and delivered me from the fear I couldn’t shake. Now I get to see Him in greater splendor than ever before, and He’s just so beautiful!
“This is the reason why the Father loves Me—that I lay down My life, and I lay it down to take it up again! No one is taking it from Me, but I lay it down of My own free will. I have the power to lay it down and I have the power to take it up again. This is an order that I have received from My Father.”
John 10:17-18 PHILLIPS