WORD STUDY – SURRENDER
Jeremiah 29:13: “And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
I am now into my time of silence before God. It rained continually all the way up to the Northwoods. I began to fear this stormy weather might express God’s agenda for me during my time of silence. I could not shake the feeling that this stormy weather which did not let up through my whole trip today, with some minor car problems was not God trying to tell me something. You see, I have learned that when I live in silence, God is speaking to me through everything even the weather. So what was this all about?
When I asked the Lord only one word kept coming back to me, it was the word surrender. I figured God wanted me to write about surrender in my first blog entry. It took some time for me to realize God was telling me to surrender to Him. I figure if I gave a prayer if surrender the storm would end. I did but the storms didn’t.
I mean, I thought all this silence business, using up a weeks vacation time to go off alone into the Northwoods to spend 24/7 would be enough proof that I am fully surrendered to Him. I started to slowly come to the realization that I really don’t understand what a full surrender really is.
I remember as a child we would have an evangelist come to our church and he would encourage everyone to a full surrender to God. No matter what terrible things happens, ridicule, persecution, loss of friends, job, reputation, everything goes on the altar and it belongs to God. The preacher would then call for us to stand as a testimony that we fully intend to surrender our lives completely to God.
I have not been challenged in this way since my childhood. I have been spending a great deal of time visiting churches and listening to sermons on the internet. Usually the churches that have their sermons posted on internet are your large and growing churches, some that grow so large that they spread out to sister churches in various parts of the city. The preachers are very up to date, cutting edge, they don’t dress in suit and ties anymore, thank goodness, they stand on a platform with a worship team that sings some I like God songs set to a contemporary musical style and then these “leaders” give a wonderful message of encouragement, faithfulness of God and the blessings of God. I was greatly cheered by these messages because Catholics, Jews and even Muslims would not be offended, no one would be offended by these messages. In fact you could not find a cross anywhere in these churches. They are evangelical and talk of serving God, but there was something in the back of my mind that I found very disturbing, I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Today as I was traveling to the Northwoods in this constant rainfall and storms I could sense God speaking to me. Numbers are not what He is interested in. He finds more pleasure in a church of 20 people who are fully committed to Him than a church of 2,500 who are just casual observers. I kept telling the Lord, “How could you not be pleased with a church having thousands of people who would never darken the door of a traditional church and attend one of these non-offensive churches. The Gospel is being given after all.
That is when I was struck with that overwhelming realization, that I did not understand true surrender. The Lord made it very plain to me that my time of silence would be a waste of my time if I did not really struggle to understand surrender.
I was led to the book of Job and found something interesting. Here was a man who was totally surrendered to God. Even when He lost everything, his family, wealth and finally his health, he still trusted God, he still said, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job’s wife did not understand surrender. In our English translations it sounds like she is telling Job, “Why don’t you curse God and die.” Yet, in the Hebrew what she is really saying is: “Job, look at you, you’ve lost everything and now you are dying, why are you not cursing God. Why do you keep praising God?”
I fear I am on the level of Job’s wife and his friends. Surely if you are surrendered totally to God you would not suffer and anyone who is suffering, anyone who has a terrible disease, even fatal disease and is not healed must not be totally surrendered. Why a totally surrendered person would be blessed, healthy and prosperous.
I realized what was bothering about some of these big churches was that they would lead people to the cross to look upon it and be grateful for Jesus who died on the cross, but they don’t take it to that next step and that is to pick up the cross and bear it for Him.
Don’t get me wrong, I am no knocking these churches, I know little about them and hopefully they have a new converts class so these new Christians can learn that salvation is just the beginning of a life with Jesus and not a one time, get to heaven prayer and it’s back to old life of fulfilling the lust of the heart. I cannot speak for anyone but myself and I am now in the wood shed (forest) with Jesus (it is still raining) who is giving me a good Father to son talk about surrender. I am weeping now, my tears falling faster than the rain. I am so filled with shame. I do not understand surrender. I ask God to show me and He leads me to Jeremiah 29:13 that I am to seek Him with all my heart. That word all is kal in the Hebrew. That means all, everything, total focus, my heart has no other desire but Him. The word heart is spelled with two Beths, the Beth represents the heart. I ask God about this and I sense in my heart that He is telling me that it means His heart and my heart walking together. The Lamed which is the first letter in the word for heart levav connects my heart to His heavenly desires. My heart is so filled with me and my desires, that it leaves little room for God’s my heart has been walking alone for sometime now. Again, I am weeping harder and repenting.
As I weep before God I ask Him to just explain this surrender business to me in the simplest way so I can understand. These words came to me for an old love song I heard as a child:
Oh you ain’t got a barrel of money,
You may ragged and funny
But we’ll travel along
Singing a song,
Side by side.
Oh, you don’t know what’s coming tomorrow
Maybe it’s trouble and sorrow,
But we’ll travel the road,
And I’ll share in your load
Side by side.
Through all kinds of weather
Even if the sky should fall
Just as long as we’re together
It doesn’t matter at all
When others have left me and parted
We’ll be the same as we started
Traveling along singing a song
Side by side.
Every time you started to travel
You keep hitting the gravel
But you’re one Pal who will be
Always with me Side by side
Well, I am here to tell you
It ain’t a gal or a fellow
But I am ready to tell ya
That things are going to be all ok
Just as long as you never stray
And with Me you will stay
Together, Side by side
That old love song was written during the depression when people had nothing but each other and faced many storms together. Yet, they realized that they could weather it so long as they stayed together. That is all God is asking me to do to just continue to let my heart walk side by His side with His heart. No matter what the weather even when it’s cloudy, stormy and gray like today.