None of us like to surrender. The very word suggests defeat. We want to win, not give in!
However, in God’s paradoxical economy, what we see as “winning” might be “losing” in the long run. Spiritual winning only comes through the gateway of surrender. This is one of the valuable lessons learned in the wilderness of spiritual dryness.
The wilderness wanderer has to admit that she has lost her way, then to further admit that the most probable reason for it is because she stopped following God and followed her own heart, her own mind, her whims, her best laid plans….
There is a big difference between the way I thought when I was in wilderness and the way I think when I am surrendered to Christ (a place I still stumble in and out of on a daily basis!). Perhaps you can relate to one of these ways of thinking:
Surrendered thinking is the opposite of wilderness thinking.
- Wilderness thinking says, “Maybe there is no personal God. I haven’t seen Him or heard from Him in a long time.”
- Surrendered thinking says, “I choose to believe in the God I can’t see or hear.”
- Wilderness thinking says, “God can’t love me because I have wasted so much of my life in this wilderness of unbelief.”
- Surrendered thinking says,” I choose to believe that the God who sent His Son to die in my place paid too dear a price to give up on me yet.”
- Wilderness thinking says, “God will hold me accountable for my wasted potential and I will never be who I could have been in Him.”
- Surrendered thinking says, “God is the one who orders my days, perhaps He has brought me through this experience in order to prepare me for a ministry I never would have chosen on my own.”
- Wilderness thinking says, “I am unfit to serve Him in ministry.”
- Surrendered thinking says: “God is in the redemption business and He will send me out to minister to other wanderers, to point them to Christ and to give them hope. Broken people minister to broken people.“
Trust is essential to surrender. Choosing to believe that God loves you is the first step in learning to trust Him. “Surrender is hard work. In our case, it is intense warfare against our self-centered nature,” writes Rick Warren. He adds “surrendering is never a one-time event. …There is a moment of surrender, and there is the practice of surrender, which is moment-by-moment and lifelong….It will often mean doing the opposite of what you feel like doing.” As we surrender, by choice, over and over, we change the way we think.
For every message of defeat that Satan sends into the heart of the recovering wanderer, there is a message of hope from God. (Excerpt From Faking it to Finding Grace)