I want to talk about surrender. Dictionary.com defines surrender as follows: “to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield; to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc.” Surrender involves a tremendous amount of vulnerability. You can’t surrender without becoming vulnerable.
Sometimes we surrender to a process. I remember when I was giving birth to my firstborn. I had never been through childbirth before, I had no idea how long this was going to take, and I was experiencing A LOT of pain. Somehow I knew I needed to yield (surrender) to the process going on in my body; if I fought the pain – trying to stop it – I would end up in more pain (and it would probably take longer) than if I just let things happen.
I believe God asks us to surrender to Him. Because God is love, the surrender is to love. And it is the love of God that heals us and transforms us…if we surrender to it. This comes in the form of little steps of trust, taken over time. We learn that God’s love brings life and wholeness and healing and so we learn to trust and surrender in deeper ways.
When my first husband was dying and the paramedics were trying to resuscitate him, I was desperately begging God to save him, to not let him die. I was so scared. In the midst of my pleading and terror, there came a moment when everything became still inside me – it was as if I was in the eye of the storm. And in that moment, I laid it all down. I said to God, “You are God, and I place EVERYTHING in Your hands.” I surrendered my life, the life of my husband, and the lives of my two sons into God’s hands.
I believe it was God who enabled me to surrender at that moment – I don’t think I could have done it without Him. But I had walked far enough on my journey up to that point that I believed God loved me and that I could trust Him with my life, even though my world was shattering into a million pieces around me. I knew I could cling to God, that He would not abandon me (and that He wasn’t abandoning me in that moment).
And I believe that because I surrendered my life to Him, it opened the door for God to take care of me and my boys in ways that I could never imagine. Through that experience and the journey I have had since then, I have been transformed for the better. I am more healed and whole than I ever thought possible.
I would not wish what I went through with losing my husband on anyone. But I understand now, more than I could understand before, the power in surrender. It’s not about striving or fighting. It’s about yielding and giving up. When we can do that, God is able to work His Life within us.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20,21 [emphasis mine])