Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

“I Surrender”

“One of the reasons I loved playing quarterback, was that I got to call all the plays. My cancer put me in a position where I really wasn’t in control anymore.”  -Len Dawson, professional football player and Hall-of-Famer, diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 1991.

If there is one thing I’m learning about cancer, about doctors, about treatments, it’s that I am so NOT in control. It's finally having an answer, then everything changes. It's living in uncertainty and being ready to adapt quickly. So it is with any trial in our lives. Like Len Dawson, we don’t get to call the plays anymore.

We had received some wonderful news concerning dad’s cancer. The spot was not of concern and the doctors had labeled dad at a stage one laryngeal cancer, rather than a stage four. We rejoiced that this meant a non-invasive laser surgery. And with a deep sigh of relief, more news comes, yet another variable that throws me on my ear. There seems to be uncertainty as to the first biopsies and the positioning of the cancer.

The surgery date has been set, but unfortunately another biopsy needs to be taken to confirm the previous findings. Depending on the results, dad could end up having laser surgery, OR a more complicated open-neck surgery. The bad news is, we will not know which type until the DAY OF surgery. It is so difficult to not have any say in the matter. It’s heart-breaking to have to release right of choice and to just yield control over to someone else. So just how do I accomplish this?

Allow God to transform my way of thinking into His way of thinking.
Romans 12:1-2 says: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer (surrender) your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will."

The world preaches at us to take control of our own destinies…to always be in charge of every situation…to be independent, call our own shots. If we don’t, we are considered weak and unsuccessful. Paul calls us to renew our minds, not to follow the opinions and stereo-types of the world! For it was God who first showed us mercy and sacrifice and we too can offer our lives in return. But first we must realize that we are not our own. We have been bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). One of my favorite verses is Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Not only am I called to no longer live by the patterns of the world, but I am called to put to death (crucify) the person I once was. I sacrifice my old way of thinking and reacting to my circumstances and grab on to the new life, the new way of thinking, I have received through Christ. I give up my rights to control. For the old person is gone and the new one has come. I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Understand that submission to God is for my benefit. He has my best interest at heart.
The Lord knew me before I was even born (Jeremiah 1:5). He knows the number of hairs on my head (Luke 12:7). His ways are higher than my ways (Isaiah 55:9). So if this is all true, why is it so difficult for me to submit to the One who knows when I go out and when I lay down …when I sit and when I rise…the One who knows my thoughts, who knows me completely (Psalm 139:1-4)…the One who knows the secrets of my heart (Psalm 44:21)? It is beneficial for us to trust the One who created us, knows us, and sees our future. “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). He sees the big picture, the whole picture, where I only see bits and pieces.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:7-8). The word submit means to “align one's self under the authority of another”, as an army in orderly arrangement under its commanding officer. The word resist means “to oppose, to stand against”. James commands us to take a stand against our true enemy, Satan. When we submit to our commanding officer (God), He gives us power to stand against the opposition (Satan), and we are assured victory. To “draw near to God” suggests that we have voluntarily distanced ourselves from Him. But, He promises that as we reach out, He in turn will “draw near” to us. The requirement is outward and inward purity, represented by clean hands and clean hearts.

In submitting myself to Christ, the One who knows me completely, I receive power to resist the devil. I draw near to Him and He will draw near to me. But God also promises in Proverbs 3 that when I acknowledge Him in all things, when I “submit” my ways to Him, He will direct me!

Walk in obedience, surrendering my will daily.
Jesus sets a prime example of surrendering my will to God. As He prayed on the Mount of Olives prior to His betrayal in the garden, Jesus asked the Lord to take this suffering from Him. Yet it was for God’s will and not His own that Jesus prayed would be done (Luke 22:42). Jesus is also seen in John chapter 5, as the Jewish leaders harass him for breaking the rules of the Sabbath. In this passage Jesus claims himself as the Son of God, but in verse 30 He explains that He does nothing on His own. He can only do what God tells Him, but His judgments are just because He follows the will of the One who sent him and not his own will.

And yet another example is found in Joshua 24. Joshua has gathered the tribes of Israel to renew a covenant with the Lord. He presents a poignant question before the people, who are ya gonna serve? Joshua‘s choice was to serve God only! But the people must break away from all confidence in their own sufficiency, making God their deliberate choice. Joshua binds them to it by a solemn covenant. He instructs them to, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” In other words, surrender your hearts, surrender your idols, surrender your will.

“Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:13-14). I do not obey in order to be redeemed. Instead, my redemption enables me to obey!

I let go of my control because my way of thinking is no longer my own. I submit to God because He has my best interests at heart. I obediently yield my will because I have made a deliberate choice to serve the Lord as an instrument of righteousness. I surrender!

1 comment:

  1. Surrender and die to self daily.. its my new action. Something i have struggled with but will over come by the grace of God. Your posts are so wonderfully written and through this battle of cancer with your dad, God is able to reach so many on many different levels. Praying for you and the family and keep in good spirits.