[COMMENT: This testimony from Robert Cummings, a missionary to India, about his struggle to find an authentic and powerful Christian life rings true. It comes from a 40 page booklet which tells his story.
God preserves a space between Himself and us, a space which is a measure of His respect for His creatures, a space which gives us "space", that crucial space every person needs to "be a real self", to find the freedom to make authentic decisions, the freedom guaranteed by the existence of the two trees in the Garden of Eden -- representing our capacity to choose to serve God or to rebel. It is the freedom we begin to discover, not always gracefully, during our "terrible two's", when we are learning that we can say "no" to our parents, especially to mother. Until we can say "no", our "yes" does not mean anything.
And then the "teen rebellion" when we begin that separation from father. In both cases, the parent must stand back and let us choose, even when their are consequences. That does not mean no discipline, but rather than Godly discipline is a respecter of personal dignity.
Neither period needs to be troublesome, but, troublesome or not, we must find that sense of our own selfhood, because we cannot freely give what we have not freely owned.
The saints "casting down their golden crowns around the glassy
sea..." (Rev. 4, & hymn, Holy, Holy, Holy) are the saints giving back to
God the very kingdoms God had given to them, their freewill, their place of
dominion. Giving all this back to God does not annihilate it, it only
enhances it, as God gives it back again to us, now again improved. The
whole of our creating is a dialogue of giving of selves back and forth. As
we give ourselves to God and He gives us back to ourselves, we become
co-creators of ourselves with God, and made in His image. My emphasis
All this while tremendous Power had been upon my body, Power that I knew could do anything at all, and Power that was intelligent. It had me absolutely in its control. But the thing that makes me solemn and very sober is this: that Power absolutely refused to touch my will or consciousness. Please do not think I was in a trance. I could have risen at any time that I had asked God to let me rise. I was keenly aware of the movement of people all about me. But I really did want the will of God to be accomplished and as I would pray that prayer, "Thy will be done," then the power of the Spirit would flood me again and gripping my whole being would carry on His blessed work. The very moment I shrank or hesitated, He would leave me. And not until I would pray again with my whole heart, "Thy will be done, not mine," would He return to His work of teaching me to turn over to Him the members of my body. I have many a time been lost in amazement at the wonder of it: intelligent Power that was infinite, yet stopping before my will and refusing to accomplish its desires except as my will would co-operate.
Robert W. Cummings in Unto You is the Promise, p. 33-4 (Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, MO) -- his testimony about receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
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