As I journey through my first Lenten season, one word keeps coming back to me: surrender. I hear it in a song, I see it in a Tweet, I read it on a blog, and it keeps coming back in my mind. The Lord is asking me to surrender, all that I am, to His greater plans. And I’m struggling.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”-Jeremiah 29:11
I know God has great plans for me, and He has slowly been revealing those plans over the past year or so. But though I know I can trust Him with my hopes, dreams, and life, I still find it incredibly hard to surrender. I’ve been worshipping more, pouring out offerings of worship, calling out for surrender. I’ve been praying for Him to help me surrender. And I’ve been ashamed at how hard this has been.
Almost every day, I’ve been praying this prayer:
“Lord, I give you this body of mine; from my head to my feet, I give it all to You. My hands, my limbs, my eyes, my brain, all that I am inside and out, I hand over to You. Live in and through me whatever life You please. You may send (keep) this body to (in) Africa, or lay it on a bed sick with cancer. You may blind my eyes, or take me with Your message to Tibet. You may take this body to the Eskimos, or send it to a hospital with pneumonia.. This body of mine is Yours alone, from this moment on. Amen” (I lost the source of this, but know that I did not write these words.)
It started out as words that I hoped someday to speak with my heart, rather than my mouth. After nearly a month, it has morphed from just words to something deeper. I still don’t feel like I would be fully happy if He gave me cancer, or even sent me to Tibet. But now my soul yearns to submit and surrender, and these words are starting to stir something deeper.
I’ve also noticed that when God nudges me to surrender, I’m no longer cringing and making myself busy. From the depths of my heart, I want to surrender it all. And God is helping me, by giving me the desire for complete surrender.
When I said yes to joining the Peace Corps, I was surrendering to God’s will. But it wasn’t hard because it was something I wanted to do. I didn’t know if I was brave or strong enough, but I had a yearning for it. How easy is it to “surrender” to God’s plans when they are something you want dearly? It is so much harder to surrender when you have to give up something you want. And even harder to surrender before He’s revealed His plans to you.
That’s the crossroads I’m at now. God is asking me to surrender without knowing what He has planned for me. And boy, am I struggling. I have a hard time with “the unknown”. I’m the kind of person that will read the plot summary before watching a movie. Asking me to surrender my life without knowing what He’s going to do with it? Ouch.
And yet, I know He only has the best planned for me. At the same time, “the best” could be uncomfortable. Remember Job? He lost everything as Satan tried to break his righteousness. Moses? He wandered with the people of Israel for 40 years through the desert. Paul? He was in prison more than once. In fact, the Bible is full of people who went through periods of suffering and fear in the journey with God. And that’s what’s scary.
I keep saying that I will praise Him in the good times and bad, and I try to. And each day I pray that He can take my body and do whatever He wants with it, cancer, Tibet, or anything else….but when that times comes, can I handle it?
Only by the grace and strength of God.
I’m using the book “Holey, Wholly, Holey: A Lenten Journey of Refinement” (Click to get a free PDF copy!) as a guide through the Lenten season, and the words Kris Camealy, the author, writes have time and again struck me deeply. It’s as if she knows exactly how the Lord is challenging me.
“To walk closer with Christ, we must bravely surrender to His will, to His discipline, to our independent selves who insist that we can handle life on our own….turns out, surrendering is harder than bravely pushing ahead.”-Kris Camealy, “Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement”
This Lenten season, I am surrendering. I still don’t know how, but this what God keeps calling me to, and I won’t ignore Him any longer. I pray the He gives me the strength to surrender all, even if I don’t know what will happen. I pray that He gives me the courage to not only face the unknown, but embrace it.
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