Written by: Vivian Wilson
It was on January 21, of this year when God gave me the “heads up” on my lesson for the year ahead. The course for this year is “SURRENDER.” I lived through the “TRUST” year of 2013, and though difficult, I passed. I definitely did not ace it, in fact I am still learning. But the “TRUST” class is a prerequisite for the “SURRENDER” class.
I am finding this course much more difficult.
Many of the “trust tests” were about things that were really not in my control. For instance, when I put my house on the market last year, I had no control over how long it would be on the market before it sells, (I’m still trusting), so I chose to trust God and not to worry. Also, since I have no control over the health of my parents, I chose to trust them to God and direct me to the best place for them. These are important issues, but there is only so much control that I actually had.
But surrender is a different story. It totally involves my will. The words are easy to say, “I surrender.” And I want to surrender because Jesus says in Luke 14:33, “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has, cannot be my disciple.”
I want to give up everything, I want to be Jesus’ disciple.
Do I? Really? What if it costs too much?
The verses just before this, talk about the King who considered the cost before going to war.
What if God puts a specific thing on my heart that He wants me to give up?
What if it is something important to me, cherished by me, something I think I need, something that gives me joy, or something that gives me pleasure?
What if He says, “I want you to let go of that and give it to me.”
…then “I surrender” becomes much less easy to say.
If you notice, all of the reasons that I gave for holding on are centered on me. God wants me to put Him at the center of my heart and mind. I want to do that, but my flesh fights against the things of God, and the closer I come to Him, the fiercer the battle gets.
In John 5:1-17, Jesus tells the story of an invalid who waited at the pool called Bethesda for a miraculous healing. He had been disabled for thirty-eight years. Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?” I sort of chuckled at the question every time I read it because I thought it was obvious. Then I was critical of the man’s response, but he wasn’t making excuses, he was acknowledging his helplessness to do anything about his condition. He needed someone to help him.
In light of surrender, I see this passage a little differently now. Jesus asked the question so that the man would focus on Him. Of course he wanted to get well, why else would he have been at the pool? The problem was, he couldn’t get in the pool by himself. He wanted to get in, but was helpless to do it. Only Jesus could make him well.
Jesus would ask me, “Do you want to experience the best that I have for you? Will you let me be your focus? Will you choose Me over anything that you are still holding on to? Will you surrender anything that would take My place in your heart and mind and let me be your everything?”
There is no risk in giving everything that I hold dear, to God. The thing is, I know that I can trust Him. Because I know him to be loving, gracious. merciful, kind, compassionate, and able to do all things.
But if it were easy, we would all be living a perfectly obedient, perfectly holy, life. That is impossible on this side of heaven because we will always have the flesh fighting to have its way.
I am learning that there are some things that I cannot fix in me. The answer is to surrender them to my Redeemer and let Him bring about the healing and restoration that my heart and mind so desperately need. It is a matter of the free will that God gave me. I am free to choose who will sit on the throne of my heart. I must choose daily, hourly, and even moment by moment at times. In this process I will grow in faith, and trust, and love for my Heavenly Father.
I wish that I could tell you that I passed my final exam in my course on “SURRENDER”, but I haven’t even taken the final exam. I’m still struggling through the weekly tests. (I haven’t even taken the final exam in the “TRUST” course.
But all is well! My Instructor is patient and gracious and will not let me fail. He has even given me the answers to the test!
Yes, I want to be made well, really! I want God to do in me what I can’t do for myself.
I am definitely a work in progress,