Surrender sounds like such an old fashioned, negative word to me. It brings up images of pirate battles and Napoleonic warfare.
But the more I think about it, the more I start to associate positive words with it, words like ‘trust’, ‘confidence’, and ‘love’.
We can only truly surrender to someone, that is give up our possessions, rights or will to them, if we trust them to some degree. When I surrendered my car keys to my son to practise for his test it was with trust in both his driving instructor’s report and his level of ability that he wouldn’t crash my car.
It is so much easier to relinquish our hold on something (or someone) precious if we have confidence in the person we are surrendering to. And I suppose confidence best comes by getting to know that person; only time will give us the evidence we need to their trustworthiness.
And isn’t love itself a form of surrender? The willing gift of yourself to another, trusting they won’t throw away or mistreat the best gift you could offer? It’s wonderful when that gift is treasured, devastating when it’s casually discarded.
I watched the last episode of ‘Married at First Sight’ http://www.channel4.com/programmes/married-at-first-sight last night. (Spoiler Alert!) Although all four couples, a month after meeting on their wedding day, decided to stay married, only one pair, a few months later, appeared to be making a go of lasting the distance. It was so sad to see all those hopes and good intentions dashed. But what seemed obvious was how incredibly difficult it was for anyone to fully trust someone they hardly knew. No wonder things crumbled when one partner struggled to communicate his emotions or another buckled under the stress of moving away from friends and work.
I still struggle with surrender when it comes to God. I guess I still don’t completely trust Him, that somewhere in the back of my mind remains a fear of being let down or not being good enough for Him to care about me that much, that and a family trait of stubbornly independent, sheer bloody mindedness.
When He asks me give something up that I don’t want to, like my free time or my sleep in order to look after my dad again, I have to remind myself that His plans for me are to prosper [me] and not to harm [me], plans to give [me] hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29.11). I have to remind myself that this is what He wants from me at this time and that He will give me the patience, kindness, and gentleness I need to do it well. I have to remind myself that He always walks with me along the path where He has called me. I have to remind myself that He loves me.
Then He takes my sometimes sighing, sometimes gritted teeth surrender and turns it into something more that I could have imagined.