|Resignation - A Dichotomy of Eternal Proportions
Copyright 1995 by William Meisheid (9-07-95)
Lord, your gifts are everywhere. One I have come to appreciate this summer is a presentation in our Adult Sunday School by selected couples in the church focusing on various key words of our Christian life. Ordinary people spoke on these subjects out of their life experience, “seasoned saints” the bulletin calls them. They dealt with weighty subjects; commitment, compassion, faithfulness and obedience, but like you did in your ministry, in a practical context.
Today we heard about responsibility. What a significant word in today’s world. During the discussion the couple touched on the significance of understanding your perspective on the meaning of the words we have been investigating. I found that thought reinvigorating. I have often applied the concept of your definition to specific theological words such as AGAPE (sacrificial love) or PISTIS (faith/belief/trust) but I have never considered that you might have a particular meaning in mind for every word you use in scripture and it may not coincide with current general usage.
As this concept turned over in my mind I realized it had significance in a problem I have been wrestling with for some time, which I marginally touched on in my “Choice and Submission” meditation; resignation. I have been pondering the Christian problem of being strong enough to resist sin but then turn around and resign ourselves to God's will. On one hand straining to the uttermost and on the other giving in as soon as possible. It is an interesting dichotomy.
William Wilbourn, a Christian I met online, wrote concerning this recently. He said “Resignation, from my own experience and what I've witnessed in others, does not bring contentment, and brings only a shadow of peace, more like veiled sorrow. Resignation, I think, merely means an end to thrashing - at best.”
Webster calls resignation “the act or state of being resigned” with the synonym submissiveness. For resign it has two definitions that fit our inquiry; one that resonates William’s concern, “to accept something as inevitable” with the synonym submit and one closer to my thoughts about our relationship with You, “to give up deliberately; especially: to renounce (as a right or position) by a formal act”, the synonym being quit.
Subtleties of meaning and nuances of application tip the scales in this concept back and forth between William’s observation and mine. Your word, Lord, is no direct help since resign and resignation are not used, though submit, give up and renounce are. The concepts are there, though the specific word is not. But which concepts correlate? Should we even use this word in describing any aspect of our relationship with You?
I don’t think there is a problem that it is not a word directly used in Your Word. Trinity is not. Neither are abortion, altar call, education, or euthanasia. That doesn’t mean they don’t describe legitimate biblical concerns or concepts.
"Resignation is the courage of Christian sorrow." Alexandre Vinet 1797–1847, Swiss Protestant theologian and historian of literature.