This morning I pulled out an old devotional journal from my desk, and tucked inside the back was a letter you’d sent me a couple of years ago. In it you started with 1 Peter 5:6-10.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Those verses and your transparency spoke to me of surrender, the topic of your letter. Surrender is so hard for me. Even knowing what I’m to surrender to can be hard. And discerning the difference between surrender and giving up—for me they seem muddled at times—and I feel that I swing back and forth like the foolish person spoken of in James 1.
Your reflections Sunday on Mark’s sermon also has a haunting connection—the struggles of doubting God as a good God. All the “why?” questions drift through the recesses of my brain—wondering, wondering of the ways of such a powerful and incomprehensible God.
And yet God is good. The blue sky above, the rolling tides, even the ingenuity of man, and the smile of a sick child staring up into your face—all, all shout God is good! God is good!
When David flees for his life and Absalom proclaims himself king, David’s response was simply, “I am ready; let him [God] do to me whatever seems good to him.” Ready for what? In David’s mind, it was likely death, considering the typical fate of deposed kings of that time, but he was ready—ready for whatever.
He was surrendered.
Hanging onto faith can be such a daily thing, and the arrows of Satan can feel as close as the enemy taking up residence in our house. Maybe surrender is hard because of the difference between knowing God is good and feeling God is good.
Lord, let us see the evidences of your glory—the wonders that shout, “God is good. God is good, always.” To such a God we can surrender each day.