Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” - Job 42 (New Living translation)
Surrender. That’s a difficult thing for anyone, and particularly within the context of the Kingdom of God, where the pursuit of Christ-likeness is both our calling and our highest priority. This is a different economy, where we play by a different set of rules and are called to live believing that instead of a life-long quest for self-improvement and self-awareness, our great accomplishment should be the act of dying to self. Like Jesus did. And, we need to look like Him, more and more and ever more - if we would see Him made famous in our time, in our world.
On my journey of faith, there have been many compelling calls to surrender, many convicting moments when I have come to understand in small ways the meaning of the word. My growing understanding that all things have their origin in God, and therefore nothing on this earth is really mine has brought me to what is a recurring need to “surrender” my stuff to the Lord, to hold everything earthly that appears to belong to me with an open hand, for it is not truly mine. Then, there have been those moments when fear has gripped my heart as someone I love has been or has the potential to be harmed. It is those occasions that have so consumed and paralyzed me that I have come to the convicting realization that this is also an area where I have a need to surrender; for even those closest to me, those that seemingly “belong to me” in this world are not mine – therefore, also surrendered – recurrently.
But it is the more subtle but ever so necessary “surrendering’s” that have caught my attention lately. A brush with the life of Christ causes me to encounter the surrendering of my rights, which seems to fly in the face of my sense of personal justice. If I would look like Jesus, I would have no rights, I would dismiss those injustices that have been leveled against me – wrongful accusations, hurtful words, unnoticed accomplishments, disappointing friends, absent apologies, and the list goes on. By the power of the Spirit of God alive in me, I would forgive them and let them go. They wouldn’t matter, and I wouldn’t need to see justice served in my life.
To look like Jesus, I need to be emptied of the cancer that holding on to my rights inflicts on my soul. To bring fame to the only one deserving of it, I should die to my rights. And, for the sake of this unshakeable Kingdom, I should forego them, believing that all power is available to me to live that out.
There is nothing that transpires in my life that is beyond the scope, knowledge and permission of the God who loves me with an unexplainable passion. And, because I know that He is constantly and consistently working out all the details of my life for what is ultimately “my good”, regardless of how they seem to appear through my limited vision, I have no option but to choose, like Job; surrender. And when surrender means personal injustice, when surrender means pain, still I must submit. The path to Christ-likeness requires that kind of trust. And this leap off the cliff of genuine submission always results in the sustaining grace and peace of my Father.