I recently finished teaching my little home-schooled boy a lesson in his history book regarding the Revolutionary War (1775-1781). Many battles took place during those years as our country fought the British in effort to gain independence from them.
It wasn’t until 1781 that victory came to the American people with the help of the French soldiers at Yorktown, Virginia when the British were trapped, and their General, Charles Cornwallis, agreed to surrender.
Imagine the excitement the Americans must have felt at that moment. The Declaration of Independence had been signed years prior and now the long and no doubt tiresome war would finally cease.
I think my son (if he would have lived during those years) would have humbly and nobly signed a 57th signature to that very important document. He’s also mentioned he would have fought right beside those brave Colonists, which comes as no surprise since he can often be spotted mimicking a combination of victory and defeat while acting out a war scene between an assortment of Lego action figures.
As we studied this chapter on early American history my little “historian” thoroughly soaked it all in, which prompted me to take the discussion a bit further by challenging him on the topic of ‘surrender.’
While exploring the broad areas of surrender my boy voluntarily commented how a combination of Legos and electronics consumes much of his free-time and how he may need to consider “surrendering” some of that to something of more value and worthwhile.
I hadn’t really considered the many different ways surrender can take place until this point…
The dictionary describes surrender as, ‘agreeing to give up resistance and submitting to one’s authority.’
Although most of us can’t relate to the type of surrender encountered on the combat grounds of a war zone, we can (more likely), connect to the experience of “surrender” by emotional means or in a materialistic manner, whether it’s beneficial to our well-being or not.
Negative surrender can happen when a husband or wife gives in to a nagging spouse, or a tiresome parent allows a disobedient child to have their way.
On the opposite side, positive surrender occurs when a long time addict trades substance abuse for a support group; or when a non-believer considers Christ existence for the very first time and lays down all selfish behavior or motives for the desire of God, in total surrender to him.
Surrender can be a beautiful thing and although most versions of the Bible don’t physically record the literal term, the idea is implied all throughout…
James 4:7 says: ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’
And in 1 Peter 5:6-10 we read, ‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.’
Regarding faith, those verses emulate surrender, it shows up in the form of: submitting to God, humbling yourself, maintaining an attitude of sober-mindedness…I realize those don’t sound like flattering words, BUT.. Words such as submit, humble, and sober-minded, carve a path while we place our trust in Jesus, so that words such as restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish can define a person’s faith-life.
Without a doubt, Jesus’ act of surrender is the most remarkable as He shed His blood for you and I as the perfect offering for our sins. Luke 22:42 records some of Jesus’ last words as he departed His life on earth, crying out to God, the Father, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” and moments later in Luke 23:46, ‘Jesus called out with a loud voice, saying, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.’
Many times I read those words and become so overwhelmed in a mess of tears, but all for good purpose. Jesus’ life-giving act of surrender means life-changing for us if we’d just choose to surrender to Him, saying “not my will, but yours be done”—allowing this thought process to filter all areas of our life…
In a troubled marriage, trusting Jesus and crying out to Him, “not my will, but yours be done”…
When the test results from the doctor come back with an unfavorable outcome, reaching out to God, “not my will, but yours be done”
An assigned task with unreasonable expectations, yet fervently praying to the Lord, “not my will, but yours be done”…
In Jesus’ moment of suffering, as he hung on the cross with shallow breath, he clung to God’s purpose for His life—offering full surrender, ultimately to show His love for us.
I can’t think of anything more divine or satisfying as a follower of Christ.
From a worldly perspective, it may seem as if Jesus simply gave up, but viewed from a Godly one, we trust and see Jesus’ act as the beginning of what would soon be victory over sin, over death, over Satan… Three days later when Jesus rose from the grave, there stood (victoriously) Eternal Hope…as a patient and obedient result of surrender.
The beauty found in what seems like a losing physical or spiritual battle often times prevails when we finally agree to hand it over to God, trusting His will and plan above our own…the sweetness of surrendering victoriously.
Paul, once a strong persecutor of Christians but having dramatically surrendered his life to Christ, writes in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Paul’s story is a portrayal of blessed surrender; a solemn reminder that no one is too far from saving, may it be the echo of our own life.
I don’t know what heavy battle field may lay on your heart, but friend won’t you surrender and allow the ‘Mighty Warrior’ to cross enemy lines, defeating your troubles so you can experience His sovereign, grace-filled dominance…he reigns as King above all kings seated on the throne of grace calling all who are weary and heavy burdened to come to Him.
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Revelation 21:4-5 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”