Surrender doesn’t come naturally to any of us. The very reason we are in this mess, to begin with, is because Eve wanted control.
“I just want a little control,” she said...”Just want to know what God knows.”
We deceive ourselves if we think we are wrestling God for just a little bit of power. No. We are wrestling to dominate.
Domination is the way of darkness.
In the kingdom of black and smoke, it’s a claw your way over each other to the top of the system. Being in control is the name of the game. Oh, it won’t seem that way at first. The fruit looks delicious at first, the lies good and sound logic. But the moment that first bite is taken, the very control we think we gain is exactly what we lose.
Surrender is the posture of submission.
Submission will always be a choice, despite what culture has portrayed. Domination and submission are not the same things. In submitting, we are choosing to lay down whatever thing we want to partner with someone else’s heart.
Jesus surrendered his human desire not to die. If you wonder whether or not he struggled, read his prayer in Gethsemane on the night he was arrested (Matthew 26). There you will find the words of a man who did not want to suffer and die, but ultimately wanted his Father’s will above all else.
The cross was his submission.
The Cross is the best example of what can happen when we choose to surrender our desires for God’s. Never once was Jesus dominated. Never once was he not submitting his heart to the Father’s. Greater love has no one than the one who lays his life down…who surrenders his life for another.
I’ve been wrestling with God, lately. I know it. He knows it. It fascinates me that he will allow us to wrestle with him when he could break us in the blink of an eye. I’ve been wrestling with him over the dreams He’s put in me. I don’t question whether I’m chosen for the tasks I see before me. I’ve had too much confirmation and too many miracles to question that anymore.
What I’ve questioned is the difficulty of the plan.
I have seen in the past month – with the kind of clarity you get when you clean a grimy mirror – that these things whispered into my heart by God are going to take some hard plowing on my part. It’s not going to come easy. Just like in every season I’ve faced, I’m going to have to plow the field in faith. There will be blisters, bruises and even a little sunburn from exposure to the elements. It’s going to hurt at times, and I’m going to water the soil with my tears. My wrestling match with him has revolved around that one thing…
“This is going to be too hard! Find someone else!” Even as I pound his chest and yell, he is gentle in his response…
“I choose you.”
How fickle is my heart? I have yearned forever to be chosen, and then when the choosing costs me, I am ready to throw in the towel…ready to dominate my own life again.
It’s because I crave safety.
Jesus isn’t safe, at least not the kind of safe I crave. I crave the safe that is painless. To follow Jesus is to surrender to the truth of pain and sorrow…and that my friends, is the intersection I find myself at…
Do I want safe or do I want Jesus?
One will be a life of me dominating my world to keep the pain at bay, the other will be me surrendering every bit of my life to a wild, adventurous, risky journey…a journey that will hurt. Oh, I know there will be mountaintops – the Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music kind of mountaintops – but there will also be valleys that are carved deep into the canyons.
Jesus said it himself. “You think you want to follow, but are you ready for what it will cost?”
Every time he said that to the masses they turned their back on him. He was always only left with the twelve. He would turn to them, when the rest had fled, and ask them again…
“Are you going to leave, too?”
The response of Peter takes my breath away…“Where else would I go?
The wrestling has left me tired, worn out, but also broken in the best way. Perhaps that’s why God patiently wrestles with us: because it produces a pliable, tender heart that he can pour his glory into. As I lay on the ground after my wrestling, looking into the face of my King, he asks me that ancient question that we began with.
“Are you going to walk away, too?”
With dirt on my face and self-inflicted bruises, I respond…
“Where else would I go?”
And so, surrender is the posture I will take. Dominance has never brought me safety or peace, only the illusion of it. Surrender is the safety I really crave. The soul-satisfying, eternal safety only found in walking arm in arm with Jesus.
When the wrestling is done, I’m left where I began…
Chosen by the King, surrendered to his will.