Surrender is a challenging concept. In our human minds we view surrender to be giving up and so to be the ultimate failure. In World War I soldiers were ordered not to fight but to die because to surrender would be viewed as cowardice. In World War II Japanese fighter pilots would purposefully crash their planes with the intent of destroying them because to be captured and to lose would be far worse than death. We are so strong-willed and determined that it is hard for us to recognise that sometimes the right thing for us to do is to concede that we are unable to go on by ourselves and that we require help. We need to surrender.
Last week I found out that my father, in less than a month is going to have major surgery on his back. While we knew it was coming, it was still a massive shock. Immediately many questions began swirling in my mind and I began to panic. How will we handle his two weeks in hospital? Will we be able to give him the help that he needs once he gets home? Will the surgery go wrong? What will we do if it does go wrong? How am I going to be able to handle spending time away from university to spend time with my family?
In my panic, I completely forgot to pray about it or to even think about God. Even though I had done my devotions and talked to God in the morning I could not feel more distant from Him. This seemed like something that I was going to have to handle with just my family and myself. God would have no part in it.
The rest of my day went something like this – crying, then stopping, then going to class, then crying, then watching a musical whilst crying. As my day drew to a close there was one thing looming larger than all else, a Bible study that I could definitely not get out of. I had no idea how I was going to get through a Bible study when I did not even feel connected to God.
As I prepared myself to go to the study I tried to calm myself down. I could not find any peace. The clock struck seven and I pulled myself out of bed to walk to the study. Finally, I took a moment to talk to God. I remembered how close I had felt to him in the morning and how distant I felt now. I cried out to Him in anger- How could you God? I thought we had something going!
When I got to the study I was not okay- I could not even get a word out. I was so angry at God and so angry at myself and the feeling was building by the second. Then the moment came, one of my friends looked at me and asked if I was okay. I tried to lie and say that I was, but a stern no came out. There was a long silence, he then asked me if I wanted to pray about it. No, I answered. Another long silence. We started the study, slowly I began to feel better. I felt God with me again. I felt a desire to bury myself in His word.
Afterwards, I apologised to my friend for my response to his offer of prayer. I told him that I honestly did not think that God could do anything for my dad. Whatever would happen in the surgery would happen and so there would be no point in praying because what would God do? Make my dads surgery better than everyone else’s? That did not make any sense to me. My friend responded to me by saying that I could pray and give it to God and that He would take the situation and work it for good.
Surrendering is not an easy thing to do. Surrendering your whole life and everything in it to a deity that you cannot see or hear. God. That’s why giving control of everything over to God seems crazy, insane even. It is important to remember that we have such a small view of the world and what is happening in it. It is foolish to think that we can even try to change one situation. We cannot will things into existence. God asks us to surrender to him, and even more to rest in Him. In Psalms 37:7 it says “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” Furthermore, Christ offers to restore our souls. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus invites us to give over our burdens to Him, declaring “come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
So, even though my dad’s surgery is imminent, I’m not panicked or scared like I was when I first found out. Now, I have given it to God and I know that my dad has as well. We have accepted the peace that God offers, the one which surpasses all understanding. God offers that to you too if you hand it over to him. All you have to do is ask.
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