When we think about the word “surrender” we naturally assume a sort of giving up – giving in – acceptance. When the white flag of surrender went up at Yorktown, it signaled the ending of the American Revolution. Almost a hundred years later the American Civil War came to an end as Generals Lee and Grant shook hands. I watched the last episode of the PBS series, “Les Miserables,” Victor Hugo’s tale of the beginnings of the French Revolution. The same thing occurred to Jean Val Jean and his nemesis as they both eventually surrendered to death.
I recently began reading a book – “The 21 – A Journey into the Land of Coptic Martyrs,” by Martin Mosebach. It refers to the mass execution of 21 Christians by ISIS on February 15, 2015. The book is published by Plough Publishing House. The event was video taped for the world to view. All of these elements point to one thing – surrender. The background on each individual killed that day is chronicled. We see how this inborn willingness to die for what they believed was instilled at a very early age.
As I think about this I wonder if I would have the strength, the courage, the willingness to give up my life – my all – to defend my faith. How about you? It’s easy to say we would die for such a cause, but to actually do so might be a different story. Jesus told His followers and us today, to take up our cross and follow Him. That is the first step to surrendering completely to God.
Our crosses in life can include things like broken relationships, depression and anxiety, fear of failure, lack of self confidence, inability to face the every day problems of life. We can be paralyzed by grief, lack of self control, desire, addiction and all things which weigh heavily on us – like the burden of an old rugged cross.
For Jesus, the cross included all the sin of mankind from the beginning until the end of humanity. He gave up His throne in heaven to carry that burden to His death. Shouldn’t we also be willing to die for Him? We know the outcome. He was resurrected on the third day and lives and reigns in all eternity. We have the same promise for our life after death.
Still, I can’t help but wonder, if push came to shove, would I be able to put my life on the line for my Jesus? As I discussed this with a friend the other day, she gave me some great insight. All of our suffering, whether physical, mental, spiritual is for just a short time. In the end there will be joy. That little while can be a few minutes or a lifetime.
1 Peter 5:10 says, “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.” I would guess that the outcome would far outweigh the little while of suffering. We have the assurance that life doesn’t end at death.
Surrender doesn’t have to mean giving up. It can also mean letting go and allowing God to do what He has already planned for us.