I turned to the man in line behind me. Seeing that he was not far from my age, and knowing what it took for me to come to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM), I asked him a rather pointed question.
What did you leave to come here?
It's the same question that could be asked of any person surrendering their life to Christ for the first time or for the hundredth time. To the one who's life, like mine, has been turned upside down, to the one exhausted from trying to keep it all together, to the one who is running from addictions that always seem to linger in the shadows, what did you leave to come to Jesus? What exactly did it take?
Surrender seems to be a very uneven exchange. We get to lay down all the baggage, all the mess, all the shame, guilt, fear, loss, all of it, to receive His unmerited favor, His grace, His mercy, His peace, His love, His all! He withholds nothing! Because He paid for our freedom with His life, we become blameless. It's an unfair trade.
Psalms 84:11 tells us, "For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless."
Wow! How can God really be that good?
Anything good in our lives that we cling so tightly to is insignificant when we finally realize that all He wants for us in this exchange is more good! Why do we prolong our agony by hiding things from Him? Why do we fight so hard to maintain control? And why do we beat the wind with our fearful complaints when we belong to the Almighty One?
This quote from Charles Spurgeon has been lingering in the forefront of my waking thoughts. "I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the rock of ages." What vivid imagery! Like a punch to the gut! What truth! We scarcely value the wave until we get a little further on in the journey. Hindsight, you know. Can I learn to trust Him while the wave is crashing? I want to!
So the stranger, the man behind me in line, when I asked him my potentially painful question, "what did you leave to come here?", without skipping a beat, he looked me dead in the eye and said, "Everything...and nothing." Doesn't that beautifully sum up surrender in three little words?
Someone reading this today is at that pivotal point of surrender. You may feel like you have been forsaken, even abandoned. But let me assure you, He sees. And He's got you. I encourage you to read this beautiful passage of scripture out loud, and insert your name. Repeat it often, until it gets in your bones.
"Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, (insert your name)
or, whine, Israel, (your name) saying,
“God has lost track of me.
He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out."
Isaiah 40:27 (Message)
I pray that today you sense the nearness of your God who is standing by you with outstretched arms, ready to rescue you from the waves and set your feet upon the Rock. He will walk with you through surrender, into the greatest adventure of your life.