I’m not sure about you, but for me the picture of surrender is not a pleasant one. I see a tattered man, well-worn for the battle he has fought, emerging from a foxhole, with a raised white flag. His face wears exhaustion, yet a hint of relief. Relief over not having to fight anymore. Relief that his battle, for all practical purposes is over. But, there is sadness, as he slowly comes to the realization that he has lost.
Reading Merriam-Webster’s definitions of surrender doesn’t help me either.
1a : to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand b : to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another
2a : to give (oneself) up into the power of another especially as a prisoner b : to give (oneself) over to something (as an influence): to give oneself up into the power of another : yield
So I struggle, thinking that there has to be more this “surrendering all” to the Lord. I realize that the word surrender is not used in describing our relationship to the Lord. But the concept is. We are called to “submit to God”, “trust Him” “Love Him with all of your heart, soul and strength” “Take up our cross and follow Him”.
So the principle is there. And then, I realize that my issue is with my perspective of surrender, my limited view, and the objects I’ve seen. The key is to whom I choose to surrender.
My vision of the tattered man is based upon wars stories where people are fighting for land and power. God has this. In my limited understanding, the people in control have used cruelty and forced hands to get what they wanted, they were motivated by greed and/or hatred and the desire to win. God is motivated by love. He knows the hairs on my head and created me. He doesn’t have to “win”. He’s God. I can trust Him wholeheartedly because He “who began a good work in will carry it on to completion” (Phil 1:6). I can love Him because “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). I can submit to Him because “…in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3). I can take up my cross because Christ modeled this, with His struggle, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36). Yet, we see His obedience, when while on the cross, ” When He had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30)
So yes, surrender it a struggle. And it is continual, not a one-time action. I am regularly faced with opportunities to surrender thoughts, actions, fears, decisions… It can be a battle between what I want, what I feel, and what I think is best. Yet, the key is to remember the object of my surrender, the WHO I choose to surrender to. Surrendering to God is coming to the realization that He created me, loves me, guides me, protects me, provides for me, disciplines me, encourages me, comforts me, carries me, etc. etc. I have seen the benefit and joy of the ultimate surrender, in Christ, “…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2).
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17)
Daily learning to surrender,