O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
We were blessed and touched by our fellow sisters and brothers who opened their hearts and allowed themselves to be vulnerable as they shared about their faith experiences from the recent Treasure Retreat.
All to Jesus I Surrender
Having been through an extremely packed week, one of our brothers shared that he was exhausted and initially quite hesitant about the retreat. However, by God’s grace, a reminder during one of the sessions on surrendering to God and not forming any expectations of the retreat, struck a chord in him. While he had heard several times about the idea of surrendering to God, at times, he felt that this usually remained as an abstract concept in his mind. But during the retreat, he felt the Holy Spirit challenging him more concretely to surrender, in particular, his ambitions and worldly desires. God was reminding our brother in Christ of the need to surrender in two specific ways.
Firstly, the quote below challenged him to surrender the need for societal validation, and essentially, find rest in God alone.
Look at your life and see how you have filled emptiness with people. As a result they have a stranglehold on you. See how they control your behavior by their approval and disapproval. They hold the power to ease your loneliness with their company, to send your spirits soaring with their praise, to bring you down to the depths with their criticism and rejection. Take a look at yourself spending almost every waking moment of your day placating and pleasing people, whether they are living or dead.
You live by their norms, conform to their standards, seek their company, desire their love, dread their ridicule, long for their applause, meekly submit to the guilt they lay upon you; you are terrified to go against the fashion in the way you dress or speak or act or even think. And observe how even when you control them you depend on them and are enslaved by them. People have become so much a part of your being that you cannot even imagine living a life that is unaffected or uncontrolled by them.
–Anthony DeMello, The Way to Love (New York: Doubleday, 1991), 64.
Secondly, he shared on how the parable of the prodigal son touched him deeply as he could relate to both the prodigal son and the elder brother.
He imagined and contemplated on a situation similar to that of the prodigal son in which we were stripped of our jobs, possessions, ambitions. And in surrendering all worldly desires, he saw himself as the prodigal son, returning to the light of Christ. He also shared a new perspective of identifying himself as the elder brother as he noticed that he had occasionally harboured feelings of how unfair life has been for him, especially in having to provide special attention and care for his sister who is autistic. Through this personal revelation, he realised that he had to now make a continuous and conscious effort to take that step out into the light of Christ. In humility, he acknowledged that it was difficult to do so as he is human and imperfect, but our good Lord reminded him that he is a masterpiece, and that God loves him for who he is.
During a prayer session at the retreat, our brother was affirmed of the following scripture verse and story:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Footprints in the sand