Richard and three of his friends joined a small group of hikers waiting to cross the forest. Richard laughed at his friends, “I can’t believe I let you talk me into following this guide across the forest. We should have crossed on our own. Look at the other people in our group.” He nodded toward the group of middle-aged, slightly overweight people who wore the glasses provided by their guide. Richard’s own sunglasses made him look like he had just stepped off the pages of GQ.
The white clad guide handed everyone an instruction handbook with the title, “How To Cross the Forest” in bold black letters on the small white book. The guide said, “This book contains the instructions for what to do should you get lost and separated from the group. You must remove your sunglasses because there will be times on this hike it will be dark and you won’t be able to see me if you don’t take off your suglasses.” He pulled several pair of glasses out of his bag. “Here are glasses for those of you who don’t already have them. They will help you see me better when it gets dark.” Richard and his friends half-heartedly took the glasses and tucked them into their shirt pockets with their instruction handbooks. Richard shook his head and glanced at those wearing the glasses, he decided then and there he would never be that goofy looking.
The open path and sunshine bolstered Richard’s opinion he could have crossed this forest without the help of the white clad guide. He glanced down at his own rencently puchased hiking gear and snorted at the idea of anyone wearing white to go hiking. Who was this guide anyway, obviously he didn’t know much about the outdoors.
The hikers bunched together in front of the gaping dark hole of the cave. The guide made an annoucement, “Everyone must take off their sunglasses and wear the glasses I have given you or you will become lost. If you should become separated from the group make sure you are wearing the glasses I have given you so you can see and then call out for me and I will come help you.”
Richard pointed to the people wearing the glasses and snickered to his friends, “Those are the people who can’t see, they wouldn’t be wearing those ugly glasses if they had good eyesight.” He confidently gave his sunglasses an extra push up his nose. The guide turned and stepped into the cave, the people wearing the glasses he had given them followed first and Richard and his friends straggled in behind them. Richard felt a momentary pang of fear at the deep darkness in the cave, but he shook it off. Richard picked his way carefully through the cave concentrating so hard he fell behind the others and could no longer see or hear them.
He stopped to take a break and heard the rattle of a snake. Cold shivers ran up his spine and he slowly took off his sunglasses with a shaking hand and replaced them with the glasses from the guide. Now heat flushed his face as he realized how stupid he had been not to put them on before. He could clearly see the snakes around him and the rattling of their tails intensified. Richard berated himself as he slowly pulled the guidebook from his pocket. He hoped it had instructions for how to get past snakes. He could hear the voice of the guide in his head telling him all he needed to do if lost was to call out for him and he would come help. But Richard wasn’t quite ready to ask for help. He was confident of his skill now that he could see again.
Richard flipped through the book til he found the instructions for how to find the way back to the group. He read them: 1. Put on the glasses…..step one was complete. 2. Call out for the guide and he would arrive to help. Richard turned the page for step three. There was no step three. The snakes slithered in a little closer and smiled at him tongues flicking as they licked their lips in anticipation. Richard’s heart pounded in his ears and staring into the eyes of the closest snake he whispered the guides name. Richard felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up at the white clad guide. “Let’s go” he said. “B-b-but what about the snakes?” Richard asked. “What snakes?” Richard looked, the snakes were gone. “Hey,” he asked his guide, “how come I can see so much better with these glasses on? “Those glasses are spiritual insight and help you see the truth. The longer you wear them the better you can see.” Richard decided he would never take them off, he didn’t care if he did look goofy to other people.
Complete surrender. The only way to truly live the Christian life is to surrender our lives and all our actions to God. But the problem is we don’t want to surrender everything. Afterall, what is surrender? It means we have lost the battle and we give up. For example at the end of a war the side who lost surrenders and gives up purueing their goals. The victor of the war moves forward with their plans. That’s what happens when we surrender to God, we stop fighting and give up our plans allowing God’s plan for our lives to be carried out. Not only do we concede we have lost the battle, we start fighting for the other side. It’s not like a war between countries where the soldier becomes a prisoner of war. No, when we surrender our lives to God we stop fighting for self and start fighting for God.
The problem is we fail to completely surrender to our leader. We are like Richard who decided to follow the guide through the forest, but he didn’t bother following all of the instructions. It’s time to put on God’s gift of spiritual insight glasses so we can clearly see the path God has created for us.