The Art of Surrender

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When I was younger I would hear the word surrender…

The first thoughts that would come to my mind would be associated with defeat, loss, or weakness. I recall being confused why this word was being used to bring encouragement and truth from God’s Word. I didn’t quite understand why the Lord would be calling us to live a life of surrender. From my young and myopic perspective, I could only connect it to a negative feeling of loss or giving up. 

Interesting enough, even today my flesh battles with the idea of purposely submitting my will.

Frequently, when I am in any type of discussion with my wife that has multiple and contrasting perspectives she will implore me to give up and surrender my point of view. She couples that statement with a wry smile and says something like, “you know you are never going to win.”  Being forever stubborn, my response is to dig my heels in and fight for my rights and point of view even harder.

Yet, I will admit something is changing in me. Perhaps God began his work around the time my first child was being born. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, or how anything was going to play out. My wife was having our first baby, and like so many other first time fathers, I was mildly freaking out! I felt like a little child lost in a massive department store. There were so many things happening around me and I felt helpless not knowing what to do. The ten hours that we were in that hospital room, I was fighting this inner fear/reality that I had no control of all that was happening. 

This was outside of who I was.

I didn’t like feeling weak, and strangely enough, there was a sentiment of defeatism. I found myself being overwhelmed and in some ways panicked. Yet, there was a defining moment in my faith while waiting, while pacing and while worrying in that sterile hospital room. The Lord spoke directly to my heart. He said, with a simple whisper, “TRUST ME SON.”

I had a choice with those three words. I could either keep fighting for control, and try to handle this intense time with my strength or I could place it all in the Lord’s hands and surrender willingly that He was the one in complete control.

In this moment, I saw surrender in the way that comes directly from the truth of God’s word. In 2 Corinthians 12, verse 9, the Lord is speaking to Paul about his weakness and struggle and says,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul then goes on to say in verse 10, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

What an amazing truth this is for us that minister. As leaders of people, we are constantly looked at to be strong. We are expected to have an answer for all that comes to us. We are programed to control the environment that we are responsible for and to have a smile on while doing it. But what I see in this verse and what I am learning day by day, and hour by hour, is that God desires us to surrender daily to him.

To trust him not only for the outcome of our areas of responsibility but also the details in the process of getting there. 

What I had to learn that day in the hospital, and am still learning daily, is that God can do so much more in and through me, or the situation, when I get out of the way and give Him complete control. In our weak moments, HE is strong. When we have nothing left, HE gives us the exact strength that we need to keep going. God calls us to live a life of surrender to Him and His ways. And it is on us to avoid being driven to a point of feeling lost -  but rather peace - that He is in control and we don’t have to be.

Ben Gray