As I was reading through the beginning of Luke in preparation for Christmas I have been struck by the surrendered life of Mary. Her surrender in God’s call on her life for the birth of our Lord and her trust in Him has me reflecting upon my difficulty in surrendering areas of my life to the Lord.
I’ve been drawn to Mary’s response to God, especially in light of her pending marriage to Joseph. The joy at her upcoming nuptials, the wedding plans, the guest list, the dress, all the “things” that go into making a wedding a celebration of two lives becoming one are not mentioned. I’m sure there were lists and timelines which created some resemblance of control. But God had other plans. An angel appears calling her “highly favored” and confirms God is with her. (Luke 1:28) The angel then tells Mary she will carry God’s only son. Mary’s response, “I am the Lord’s servant” (Luke 1:38) Those 5 words express a surrendered life and a trust in God.
Trust and surrender. I’m sure it was difficult for Mary, the ridicule, the possible loss of all she knew and understood because really, how does one explain THIS. But God told Mary He was with her, she knew she could rely on God to lead the way but, she needed to surrender her plans and her perception of what the outcome would look like.
Trust and surrender. In my head it’s easy to trust God for my everyday life. But the unknown, the difficult areas, those I feel the need to be in control, especially when things feel out of control. I’ll admit, I try to find any area where I can control situations. Yes I trust you Lord (in my head), but sometimes, I can’t seem to surrender (moving it from my head to my heart) and let God take the reigns. Funny thing, God’s plans can’t be thwarted (Job 42:2), so why I think I can take control and move things on my own is really quite funny. In my sinful self, I want to be in control and will spin my wheels trying.
Surrender. It’s a spiritual practice God is teaching me today. Right now, there are multiple things going on in my life. A job change for my husband, a pending marriage for our son, and a desire within me to serve God in more ways. It’s become me pushing agendas and getting wrapped up in the “so much to do and so little time.” But in the end, in God’s mysterious way, an unexplained minor illness has caused me to have to slow down and surrender. As a friend so bluntly observed, “must God physically cause you pain to get your attention?” Her observation and loving words have me reevaluating the state of my relationship with the Lord. Where haven’t I been surrendering? Where am I going it alone? And even, where have I taken on things that He hasn’t called me to?
The loving statement of a friend opened my eyes to my self centeredness, my pride, and my lack of following God’s lead. At the heart of the matter, my lack of trust in God’s faithful provisions and timing for my life. I am so grateful for His mercy as I sought forgiveness. He is faithful and after some time of quiet surrender, I had a clearer picture of God and of myself.
I am grateful He reminded me that He is my strength and shield (Ps 28:7), and that I need to be still and know that He is God (Ps 46:10). He is present with me in my circumstances and will always be my faithful guide. In Him I am loved and I am His treasured child.
We all have areas in our lives where surrender is difficult. Maybe as you are reading this, something came to mind for you. Maybe a health situation or relational issue, or maybe it’s your finances or lack of employment, or maybe you’ve taken on new roles that you thought looked good, but you forgot to consult God. Ultimately,a surrendered life comes from knowing God intimately. How well do you know God? Do you spend time with Him daily? Do you recognize His provisions in your life?
Friends, will you take a moment and surrender those areas of your life to the Lord. Take the time to share what you are feeling, the deep feelings that are hard to acknowledge, even to yourself. Trust God to carry those burdens for you. Trust Him to lead the way in healing, in living and in restoring. He is waiting for you. A surrendered life will bring Peace this Christmas and open you to experience the loving presence and provisions of the Lord.
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” And I pray that “you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-17, 19)