Let’s be honest, we like the security of control. We may enjoy getting on the roller coaster for a spin but oh boy, we sure want to know that it’s going to end! We fail to surrender all because we have no idea what is coming up ahead. We have no idea what will be required or asked of us.
Can I hear an Amen? Webster defines surrender as “to relinquish control.” It seems to imply weakness, or giving up, or not being smart enough to figure out things on our own.
I will never forget teaching our oldest daughter to drive because the words “relinquishing control” took on a whole new meaning for me. It is really hard to hand over the car keys to your child and then watch her drive away. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the day after she got her driver’s license. She got in her car, along with her sister, my second born, and was off on her merry way to school. And boy, did I ever pray my lil’ head off that morning! I prayed that she would be kept safe. That she would not drive too fast. That she would be cautious and courteous on the road. That she would have common sense. And in order to have the privilege, yes privilege –not right, to drive a car, she had to agree to do what I told her to do. I made her sign a contract stating a) she would drive the speed limit, b) she would not take any passengers without my permission and, c) she would not text and drive. And oh yes, if she screwed up, even once, those lil’ ole car keys would be mine once again.
This is exactly what our surrender to God typically looks like.
We tell God what He can and cannot do with our lives. We allow God into the driver’s seat for just a lil’ while. But if we don’t like it…if we don’t appreciate how things are turning out…if it hurts too much–then we jump right back into the driver’s seat once again. We like to set limits on God in our lives. Here’s how this may look in our day to day. God, I will do this and this for you—but don’t you dare ask me to do anything else. God you can touch this area of my life—but don’t you dare come over here. God I have allotted you 30 minutes of my day—but the remainder is all mine. God, thank you for my paycheck—I will give you a little bit, but the majority of it is for me to spend at my disposal.
God I will sing in the choir—but don’t ever make me change a diaper in the church nursery. God you can inflict me with temporary, momentary pain, an occasional cold or two—but certainly not a permanent disability or long-term health problem. God you can give me a child that has a fit here and there—but not a difficult, rebellious constant battle.
We have given him firm boundaries. And as soon as the boundaries are broken, we begin to take control. Relinquishing control is the scariest thing you will ever do. However it is also the most rewarding.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29 ESV