Early Sunday morning as I was driving to our Easter service, I was thinking about the faith it takes to surrender to the Lord and His will for our lives. I realized we would not be celebrating Easter if Jesus had not surrendered to His Father’s will of the death on the cross. He is our wonderful example.
The faith that is involved in surrendering to His will is not easy. Hebrews 12:2b says Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. (NLT) or the NKJV who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Jesus thought about what he was going to have to endure. I always wonder how he went from the last meal with his disciples, where he served them: lovingly washing their feet sharing what we now call communion with them–and also knowing what was coming as he released Judas to his mission of betrayal.
Then they made the trip to the Garden of Gethsemane.
Have you ever brought people who you know care about you into a situation and asked them to pray or stand with you, but have them fall short of what you thought you needed them to do? Jesus implored his friends to pray with him, but they fell short. His prophetic words to Peter about his upcoming denial must have added to his pain.
Two aspects of that scripture in Hebrews stand out to me. He endured the cross and he disregarded its shame. We are not asked to be crucified on a cross, we are asked to carry it. That can bring shame as well. Our culture is not pro-cross carriers in the United States at this time, and we are called to carry it anyway. We do it for the joy that is set before us.
But still Jesus pressed on. We won’t be asked to endure the cross and have the sins of the world upon us, but at times we are asked to surrender to what may feel unfair or impossible. Years ago, Darryl and I were scheduled to take our two children and drive to Rhode Island from Idaho. We prepped and planned, believing God would send us money to make the trip. We were pioneering a small church and were able to live and pay our bills each month, but did not have any extra for the trip. Darryl built some beds in our VW van as we planned on sleeping in it to avoid motel expenses. As the day of departure drew near, we still didn’t have the extra funds. I remember my husband declaring, “Satan, we will leave here. God will make a way and that is that.” It seemed foolish and silly to set out on a 2000 mile trip with little funds. Long story short, we left Idaho with about $40 and ended up in Rhode Island with $50. There were many difficult adventures on that trip, but we made it. We left on the trip with God’s Word of Faith in our hearts and a complete peace knowing we were being obedient to His will. Because we chose obedience in spite of what we saw or had in our pockets–God opened the door to relationships we still enjoy and affect to this day.
I am not comparing what Jesus obediently endured on the same level as that story at all. I am encouraging us to listen to His voice and trust Him, even when it seems impossible. Sometimes faith surrender means you do things “on the quiet”, where nobody knows it was you. NO glamor, No glory, just a quiet step of obedience that will bring blessing by Him.
Laying up treasure in heaven doesn’t always manifest itself on earth. Sometimes, surrender faith means you humble yourself and put someone else ahead of you.
Last month I said yes to the Lord in supporting a ministry in New England on a monthly basis, rather than giving from time to time. It was a faith step I wanted to do, but financially seemed difficult. I committed and God has been surprising me with some amazing extra gifts to Impart Ministries. No one knew of my commitment but me, Jesus and the ministry. He is faithful.
Sometimes our surrendering faith means we bear with things we don’t like. Paul had his thorn in the flesh. I am living without my Darryl. His stroke happened seven years ago this week, and I am still surrendering to His will in this area. There is nothing I can do about changing it, but I find myself still struggling at times. Then I pray for His grace and ask Him to use me, teach me, help me, make the most out of this difficult time for His purpose and HIs glory. I see His fruitfulness in my life. As I read about Jesus struggle in the Garden, I understand He understands and that is comforting and encouraging.
Surrendering to His will is always best, but not always easy.