Surrender, Submission, Capitulate, Yield, Concede, Succumb…
These are just some of the words that not too many of us like. After seeing the recession of 2008 when those in authority failed to protect the public interest, after witnessing the Arab Spring when millions toppled down established regimes, and as the cases of sexual harassment in the Roman Catholic Church surfaced— the words synonymous to surrender are just not trendy today. And its understandable. Human nature is just too corrupted to fully entrust one’s interests in.
The trouble is, we associate all the corruption, the distrust, even the ridicule, to the source of all authority— God. All the disappointments, frustrations and hatred spill out and eventually point heavenward. We secretly think, If God put all those jerks up there who took all my money, who murdered my people, who allowed evil in His own house— how much bigger of a jerk is He? If He makes intentional mistakes in choosing those who lead and govern us, we’re all screwed.
Let’s take a deep breath. Take a step back. And remember that God has given us all an open letter: The Bible. It bears His character and tendencies. Let’s counter these views of God with the following points found in Scripture…
First, God is nothing like us and our human leaders. He’s not as short-sighted as we are. There is no limit to His power. He has no weaknesses. He forgets nothing. No detail passes by without Him knowing. He doesn’t need rest, sleep, meals or vacations. His thoughts are higher than ours. So high, that no man can honestly say that He completely knows God. The good news is: we are His passion. All He wants is His people. And He gathers all believers through His Son, Jesus.
Second, His view is higher than ours. Imagine we’re all vehicles traveling in a desert plain. We are all aiming for an oasis in the distance. All we want is to travel on a straight path. But God is on a chopper 10,000 feet above us. While we see only a wide, safe road in front, He sees everything. The deadly cliffs, the dangerous villages, the hungry animals waiting to devour us, the huge quicksand that looks innocuous. And to protect us, He sends us commands, obstacles, difficult situations that serve as detours to take. These detours most of the time look like intentional delays to us. It often feels like He’s toying with us, leading us away from good things; it would seem like He really doesn’t care that we get to that nice oasis in the distance. But the truth is, He’s been looking out for you the whole time. And if you could see what He sees, you would be overwhelmed with gratitude that He was there for you.
Third, God is always good. No matter the circumstances. He is always good and He hates evil more than you do. You may ask, Then why does He allow all this wickedness? The story isn’t over yet. You are only seeing halfway through God’s plans. And you know what else the Bible reveals?
God is not afraid to get His hands dirty for the good of His people.
Some of us picture God as a neat guy in white who doesn’t like to get His clothes and hands dirty. He’s definitely holy, but He’s not like most people who show you they care but don’t actually roll up their sleeves to do something about your predicament. God will use the most wicked people, to get His plans into action. He will use non-believers, liars, thieves, murderers, rapists— the most unlikely bunch to get the job done. He would even use your detractors to help you. In your oppressor’s eagerness to harm you, God will use them to shape you and they won’t even know it, in the same way that He used Babylon and the Roman Empire to carry out His plans for Israel (by the way, after He used them, He made them pay for every crime they did). All we see sometimes are the godless people ruling and thriving. But make no mistake, He is in complete control. Always.
Fourth, He is unbelievably patient. I work for a pharmaceutical company and it often involves waiting for a client for three hours or more into the late hours of the night. I wait that long to have only a few minutes of a client’s time. We think this is patience. But in comparison to God’s patience, this is nothing. He can wait decades, or hundreds of years if He has to, before making His move. He’s eternal and timeless. And He gives every person a lot of chances to change. When we’re wronged, we often wish that God would send the offending person straight to hell. If we were the ones in charge, the Earth would not be overpopulated. But hell and the graveyards would be. If things are going slow for you, be thankful. If not for His gracious patience, who knows where we would be now? I know I would be damned if He wasn’t patient with me. This blog would not be possible if He didn’t give me decades and numerous chances to change.
You’re probably bored now, but here’s one thing more. God is full of love. And He sees love and goodness as strength, not weaknesses. He sees them as greater than force, fear, domination and violence. In the Bible, He showed us that love and goodness are more powerful than they appear. And it’s because of these that He intends to renew the earth one day.
You want justice? You want to set things right? You want evil, disease, poverty, starvation and death to end? God aches for that more than you do.
And He has been working on it. His methodology and schedule is beyond our understanding. But have faith, we will get there in His perfect time. One day, everyone’s eyes will be opened.
This article is titled, the Joy of Surrender. I’m not saying that we become doormats and pushovers. I’m not saying that we follow men blindly. I can’t do that myself. But I say that we follow the God of the Bible with a passion. His servants will never be perfect. For as long as we are fallen, there will be no perfect servant who will deserve the authority that God will place on their shoulders.
And it doesn’t matter. Because we know that we serve a God who is in complete control, who guards our best interests, who is unstoppable, who never forgets His people, who loves us with a passion, who is wise beyond words, whose will is done regardless of how corrupted His servants are. There is no need to be anxious.
Surrender and submit to Him. Let’s even challenge ourselves to surrender to His authority wherever and with whomever it may rest.
You are in good hands. As for the oppressors, your tormentors, people who abuse their authority— rest in the Lord. He is the believer’s avenger. They have nowhere to run from Him. Surrender your concerns to your Lord Father, and leave your desire to fight back at His feet. By His power, find it in yourself to forgive and pray for them that wrong you. This will free you. And it is you who would benefit the most if you do this.
Only then will the words Surrender, Submission, Capitulate, Yield, Concede, and Succumb would become joyful, sweet and beautiful for you.