Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Surrender to God. The A.A. paradox. When we surrender, we get freedom.

Fear is a barrier to surrender. If I don't trust, I am not going to voluntarily surrender. Not a chance. What if this, or that. But. Why. Painful experiences from the past, intruding into my now, preventing trust.

Pride is also a barrier. I is right in the middle of pride. Only I can do it. Not necessarily a vain pride. It's kinda "Move over God, I can do a better job".

As I was thinking about surrender and trust, I remembered an experience. There was a fellow from work whom I used to chum around with. About 15 years ago, I was between addictions, sharing with this fellow what God had done for me. I had turned into a born again Christian, very certain of what I believed and what I needed to do. I was telling this guy about the power of prayer and why on earth doesn't everyone have the same kinda faith I have. He stopped me cold and told me of how many times God refused his prayers when he was a child. Of how he would cry out to God while his father was beating him. As the beatings continued through his early life he stopped praying, developing deep resentments toward his father and God.

I did not know how to respond to this man. At my core, I agreed with him, feeling a sense of injustice over what happened to him. This same fellow often shared other stories with me. Of his drinking escapades and extra marital adventuring. I understand now that he was clearly unhappy and in pain. Seeking ways to escape his past. In my own recently begun journey into recovery, I am beginning to see the world very differently than I used to. I know today, that the words that come out of my mouth have very little ability to change the opinion of others. That all I could do is continue to be his friend and not let fear push him out of my life like I let it.

Today is too late. This man died twelve years ago in an industrial accident. His partner at work had collapsed inside a tank, my friend went into the tank to try and rescue the first man and he collapsed as well. Both men died.

Since that time, my beliefs have shifted so many times. I went from trusting a loving God to believing in a malevolent God who would strike me down at his own whim. A God who purposely allowed all the pain and suffering in the world because the people in it deserved it, me being one of the deserving ones. How I moved from that belief to a new understanding. How acceptance replaced resentment. How surrender gives way to freedom. How I understand people make up their own hell, or create hell for others. How it is up to us to take responsibility for our lives and get on with it. I can't describe to my friend how he needed to forgive in order to live. How being shackled to the past, no matter how painful that past, kills us. How we need to let go what we thought was the truth, so that we can enter into new understanding and truth. How we can change.

I still don't have answers to so many questions. I still struggle with matters of faith. I still wouldn't have a good answer for my friend. I can point at the changes in my life, but to someone who is abused as a child, what would that mean? I need to be accepting that I don't have all the answers nor need to have all the answers.

I am clean and sober today. On a journey toward life and God. Not alone. I can learn what it means to be a true friend. Thanks for letting me share.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing today. Maybe you could write a letter to that man. What a shame the way he died. I learned at my job, never enter a confined space to rescue anyone, I hope i never have to experience that. Despite all his hostility and resentment, he tried to save another's life. Oh, and one more thing, you don't have to have all the answers. You listened, sometimes that is the answer.

MISSY B said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. If you are struggling with your faith and completely surrendering to God, you should read the book "STEPS TO CHRIST". You can read, download and listen to this book for free at

I will keep you in my prayers. Much blessings, peace and happiness!!


pat said...

And thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend.