The hot, sticky air engulfs me and rests in tiny beads on my skin. My breath is heavy after chasing 34 excited children around the yard. Today is a national holiday in Uganda and the kids at the HIV/AIDS orphanage do not take the day off lightly! Leapfrog, card games, and soccer tournaments have commanded our attention for hours.
At some point in the chaos I grabbed the hands of one of the little boys and began spinning him in circles with his feet flailing above the ground. Little did I know that hours of spinning would follow as every child waited patiently for their turn. Nor did I expect this simple act would become one of my favorite things to do with the kids. It has become so symbolic to me of what God wants to do in the lives of these children and in all of us.
Here’s the picture… A child comes running up to me overcome by joy and excitement and begs me to lift him up. I then (equally joyful, willing, and excited) turn all of my attention to that one child. I tightly grab his little hands in mine and begin to spin. With no hesitation, he lifts his feet off the ground. He has no doubt that he’s entirely safe in my arms and that I have full control. He can do nothing but surrender to the direction in which I am taking him.
Even though he doesn’t know exactly what it will look like or where I’m going, he knows it is the direction he wants to go. He simply wants to spin with me, to be with me, to disconnect from everything else around him, and to experience something almost magical.
As we move in unity around the yard, I remain solid, carefully and knowingly planting each step on the ground to maximize our movement and his safety, guiding him with my knowledge of our surroundings. His feet fly this way and that, and at times fear creeps up and he resists, but my strength and our momentum overpower his hesitation. We look into each other’s eyes as we dance laughingly across the ground.
Everything spins around us in a confusing blur; the only thing that remains clear is the face of the other. His feet fly above the red, dirt-covered land that has held him captive for so long; the land that has thrust violence, disease, abandonment, hopelessness, and loneliness upon him; the land that has tied him to a horrific past and tried to squelch his dreams and rob him of his future.
For a moment, I stand in his place. By holding my hands, he is not bound by normality or by laws of gravity, but instead he moves freely through the air. No longer does anxiety, disease, doubt or overwhelming fear weigh him down. He is able to detach from his circumstances and soar above them.
Isn’t it the same with us and God? Imagine what would happen if we let go of all our reasons to resist, if we stopped allowing the wounds from our past to keep us from trusting in the present.What if we cleansed our hearts and minds of unforgiveness, doubt, and apathy and grabbed hold of His hands and surrendered ourselves to His direction?
We are so good at complicating things, but think about what might happen if we really did have the faith and expectation of a child. As so many of us struggle to find purpose and direction in this life, perhaps what we need is to simply lean into Him, lock eyes with Him, and spin with Him in His direction. As the world spins around us in a confusing blur – perhaps then we would find peace and direction and clarity.
Why do you think it is often times so hard for us to let go and give God full control? When you have surrendered control, what has been the result?