If I had to sum up 2012 with the thought that has been most predominant for me, it would probably be with the word ‘surrender’.

I blogged about this (with the same title) back in January (‘Surrender’, January 2012), having just listened to Chris Tomlin’s song ‘White Flag’ at the Passion Conference in Atlanta. That conference certainly took that theme, with the Passion album released in March bearing that title and containing another song (‘Lay Me Down’) on a very similar theme. You can listen to the songs by clicking on the links below:
Chris Tomlin, ‘White Flag’
Chris Tomlin & Matt Redman, ‘Lay Me Down’

I returned to the topic in April (quoting ‘Lay Me Down’ in that blog post as well!) in a post entitled ‘Whose Am I?’, April 2012 By that time, I was already struck by another song I had recently heard called ‘All Yours’ by Kutless. If our lives belong to God already by virtue of the fact that He has paid the price for us, what right do we have to hold on to our life and try to live it our own way?

There is nothing new about this subject, of course. In the Bible studies we did on Romans, we looked at this topic for a long time, especially as we studied Romans 6-8. Part of the process of growing in the Christian life is learning to surrender to God, putting His will above our own: “It will be my joy to say ‘Your will, Your way, always.'” (‘Lay Me Down’) Lately, in our studies on James, we have been coming back to the same theme. We started in James 1 by reflecting on the fact that the trials and temptations we face in this life are to be welcomed as gifts because they shape in us Christ’s character. We have learned that taking the long view, having a heavenly perspective, is necessary if we are going to be able to wait on the Lord and hope in His unfailing love. Last night, as we looked at the verse ‘submit yourselves to God’ in detail, we realised afresh that surrender is absolutely key to our Christian walk.

Surrender is not an easy process. I have wrestled with the illness and death of a former colleague’s husband this year, struck down by cancer at the age of 47. Prayers for his healing were fervent and yet he died in October. I know of many other heartbreaking cases (families whose children struggle with life-threatening illnesses, a family where the mother is dying of cystic fibrosis unless she can receive a second lung transplant.) I do not have answers to many of the questions people ask me about God’s will, but this year I have learned to cherish above all the truth ‘Sometimes all we have to hold on to/ Is what we know is true of who You are’ (a line from ‘Even If’ by Kutless) more than ever. Surrendering to God means that we say ‘yes’ to Him, even when the heartache hits like a hurricane, even when we do not understand His ways or His will.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus showed us what that ‘Yes’ to God looks like, and the events that followed that show us the results of that submission. We owe our salvation and our very lives to the fact that Jesus surrendered to the Father’s will. As Paul wrote, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.” (2 Cor 1:20) The rest of that verse goes on to highlight our part in this process, however: “And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Cor 1:20)

‘Amen’ – so be it – may it be so.
No wonder we end our prayers with this short, but desperately meaningful, word! May we learn continually to submit ourselves to God and to surrender all that we have and are to Him.