Psalm 37:7 (NIV): Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.
How do I surrender to God? Is it even possible to “be still” and to listen for God? And how am I going to be able to “wait patiently for him?” These are challenging questions that many of us ask God almost every day. We pray for God’s will to be done but we want God to act on our schedule. We are an impatient people when it comes to being still and waiting on God.
Lately, I have been engaged in an epic struggle on how best to surrender my whole life to God. I tell God that it would best, and easier, if He would just listen to me and do what I ask. Of course, God doesn’t operate that way but He will allow us to continue down that dead end path until we stop and ask Him for guidance – and surrender to Him.
It’s difficult for many of us to surrender to God because we have been raised to be self-sufficient and to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.” We feel as if we have failed when circumstances and things go wrong because we continue to rely on our own power and understanding instead of surrendering to God. We are fearful of getting out of God’s way and allowing Him to do the work in our lives that He has planned. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Philippians of this very thing: Philippians 2:13: for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. God is ready and willing to act if we will only surrender ourselves completely to Him.
Jesus prayed this prayer of surrender to God in the Garden of Gethsemane: Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:35-36). God does not ask us to surrender in our own strength; we are only able to do it by God’s strength and grace.
We don’t know when God’s timing will come and we don’t know how God will bring about our prayer or situation to change. As believers, we are called to follow God without knowing what lies ahead. We must trust and have faith that God will act or work out circumstances in order to fulfill his good purpose in each of us. Instead of trying to do God’s work for him, we must surrender and allow God to have complete control over our lives. Making the choice to surrender is not easy, but it is something we must do in order to allow God to accomplish his good purpose in each of us.