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07
Relinquish Control
February 7, 2017

In her book The Vulnerable Pastor,[1] Mandy Smith tells the story of mountaineer Joe Simpson, shared in Simpson's memoir Touching The Void:

Thousands feet up the side of the Siula Grande mountain, Joe's safety line was cut, leaving Joe to slide with a broken leg into a deep crevasse. After several desperate attempts to climb up and out of the crevasse, he was faced with the fact that his injury made it impossible. And so, against all survival instinct, he made the excruciating choice to lower himself deeper into the crevasse in the hope that there would be other exits farther down, all the time wondering, Am I lowering myself to freedom or deeper into the belly of the earth? Does a ray of sunlight await me in the pit, showing a way out into day, or is there only darkness and slow death? With every inch he lowered himself down, he edged farther from the obvious way to life—and there was no way back up.

In light of the fact that we have the story we know that Joe survived his harrowing experience.  But what is one to make of such complete and gut wrenching surrender.  What are we called to relinquish in terms of possessions, relationships, security, significance.  Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)  Simply stated, in order to be a disciple of Jesus we must relinquish life itself.  Jesus demonstrated this very fact in the garden, praying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42)  That is utter relinquishment.  How do you feel about this complete surrender?  What are you grasping on to?  What would it mean for you to relinquish control for the greater good of knowing Jesus in a deeper fuller way?  What would you lose?  What would you gain?

pj



[1] Adapted from Mandy Smith, The Vulnerable Pastor, (IVP, 2015), pp. 52-53

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