Willing to be made willing?

But Jesus offered himself

Matthew 26:51-54 One of the men with Jesus [as he was being arrested] pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear. “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?

Hebrews 7:27 Jesus once for all offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.

In Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Jamie submits to a second brutal lashing rather than submit to a degenerate Redcoat, though it may cost him his life. It is a masterful, moving portrayal of courage and resilience. His sister Jenny later points out that even had Jamie submitted to what the British officer wanted, Black Jack would still have tortured him, likely to his death.

Eyewitness Matthew, though, in his unique account of Jesus’ arrest, shows us a huge difference between Jamie Fraser and Jesus. Jamie had no means of escape; he could only endure what he was powerless to prevent. Jesus, as Ray Overholt’s hymn memorialized it, “could have called ten thousand angels to destroy the world and set him free.” Jesus was not victimized by the Jewish leaders or by Pilate. He chose to lay down his life for us.

My husband’s mentor, Edmund Chan, explores the difference between resilience and yieldedness in the following reflection. Join me in this meditation, while Jesus still lies dead and his followers mourn.

Resilience vs Yieldedness by Edmund Chan, Singapore, 3/31/22

Resilience is important. But there’s something else that’s even more important.

In leadership, resilience is one of the most important virtues. In challenging times, we need resilience. It divides between the men and the boys.

But for men and women of God, there is something more that God wants to tutor our soul in. Our Eternal Father wants to teach us the power of yieldedness.

Yet in our stubborn ways, foolish pride and distraught theology, we regard ‘yieldedness’ as a distasteful proposition and would misguidedly withhold our yieldedness unto the Almighty.

As a young man, I sought for resilience in life and leadership. As a senior citizen, I learn more and more to lean towards a yielded spirit.

Yielding our yieldedness to God is a step into the light. It is in essence our willingness to be made willing. And it goes a long way – even beyond the horizon of resilience – to draw us into the sacred intimacy and empower us in our anxious impotence.

There are at least ten differences between resilience and yieldedness.

1. Resilience is important when times get tough. Yieldedness is important when times get tougher.

2. Resilience is important when we are seeking answers. Yieldedness is important when the answer we’ve found doesn’t work.

3. Resilience is important as it deals with our energy. Yieldedness is important as it deals with our ego.

4. Resilience is important to show that we are in control. Yieldedness is important to show that God is in control.

5. Resilience is important as it shows our fighting spirit. Yieldedness is important as it shows our faith.

6. Resilience is important as it tutors us in resourcefulness. Yieldedness is important as it tutors us in restedness.

7. Resilience is important as it shows who we are. Yieldedness is important as it shows whose we are.

8. Resilience is important to reclaim lost ground. Yieldedness is important to accept our losses (and frees us to embrace new gains!).

9. Resilience is important to cultivate the mastery of circumstances. Yieldedness is important to celebrate the mystery of God.

10. Resilience is important to push on. Yieldedness is important to pray on.

In championing the value of gutsy resilience, may we not miss the virtue of godly yieldedness.

May we be willing to be made willing.

One thought on “Willing to be made willing?

  1. Thanks, Deb, for sharing the depth of insight and teaching from Edmund. I notice that your blog is tagged for Outlander. I wonder if this specific blog could be tagged for resilience and yieldedness. I don’t know what makes a tag. Perhaps you have no choice and it’s something the internet tags.


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