A few years ago I read a book by WM. Paul Young call The Shack: Where Tragedy confronts Eternity. Young states, “Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect.” This suggests that if we have taken the time to create an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father, we will not only understand His character, but also love, respect and trust His purpose for us. Also, once we trust His purpose, we will be more willing to surrender our will for His will. I thought about David’s total dependency and his devotion to God, especially when he was running from Saul, which happened only because he had cultivated a true relationship with Him. But it also seems that the whole point of being a Christian is to yield to God, to accept His invitation and grasp His hand, allowing Him to lead us through the challenging times.
However, the issue may be that the world sees surrendering as a sign of weakness, giving up control, or admission of defeat. And while God did not command us to be doormats, the “starting point” to righteousness or greatness is always submission. By yielding to God’s command, Abraham departed for parts unknown and became the father of many nations and Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt. By saying, “May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38), young Mary surrender to God’s plan without knowing what was in store for her. When we submit to God’s will, we demonstrate faith, strength, righteousness and wisdom, and we become moldable and useable. An intimate relationship with God empowers us because it’s letting go of our resistance to the total openness of who we were created to be, and would not otherwise be without His control or direction.
Remember, it was in the Garden of Eden that our first ancestors abandoned their intimate relationship with God to assert their individuality. And now we are continually searching for something outside of God and ourselves to fill that gap, or heal a relationship many are not even aware has been broken. Since then, men have been seeking to reestablish their identity, value, and security through work, while women are trying to find it in relationships, when all we need to do is reestablish our original relationship with God. But we can only surrender willingly to someone we love and respect, and this is the basic concept of a relationship with God.
Still, for some to surrender to God would be to commit intellectual suicide. But when knowledge is insufficient, or fails to answer the unpredictability of life, we begin to look behind spirituality and question God. A. W. Tozer states, “The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to a the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.” Webster states that to surrender is to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting because you know that you will not win or succeed. We struggle so hard just to survive, when we could simply meet at the starting point on our knees, and surrender to the One who has already secured our victory lap. God knows the distance, timing and outcome of the race, and while it is not our nature to surrender without a fight, life has a way of forcing us to our knees—willingly or unwillingly—for it is where we find good relief.