Surrender is a last resort. It’s something one does when there is no other way out. The battle is lost and, in order to survive, surrender becomes the only choice.
But when we lose that battle and finally give in, it can lead to our greatest triumph.
You may be thinking that doesn’t sound right. We are taught that surrender–any form of ‘giving up’–is wrong.
And there are times when conflict is called for, such as when we fight for righteousness or confront evil. When we defend those who need protection, or pursue a worthy cause and courageously persevere.
But, in life and in faith, we can only find ultimate victory when we choose to surrender.
When dealing with God, surrender isn’t about giving up. It’s about giving in, and letting go. Because only in that way can we receive all that God wants us to have.
“To the ego mind, surrender means giving up. To the spiritual mind, surrender means giving in and receiving.” (Marianne Williamson)
‘Unconditional’ means complete and absolute, not limited, and not subject to any conditions.
At the end of WW II, the Axis Powers were not in any position to set conditions for their surrender. On May 7, 1945, the German High Command, in the person of General Alfred Jodl, finally did sign the unconditional surrender of all German forces at Reims, in northwestern France.
But the way we normally move toward surrender, we often try to do it on our own terms.
- “I’ll give up that one little bad habit but still hold onto the other one that I like more. “
- “I’ll surrender on weekdays since I have to work but still do what I want on the weekends.”
- “Maybe I’ll surrender to God sometime in the future, and I’m sure he’ll wait and understand.”
Yet God continues to call for our unconditional surrender.
Surrender is an ‘all in’ proposition. Many of life’s biggest steps are: love, faith, recovery. You’re either all in, or you aren’t in at all.
But we feel we can cut a deal with the Creator of the Universe. Bargain with the all-powerful and all-knowing God. Hedge our bets with the One in control of all things past, present, and future.
And the more conditional we try to make our arrangement with God, the less it resembles what he desires in our surrender.
Going Beyond Surrender
Sometimes, even when we think we are choosing to surrender, we are really trying to operate according to our timing, to get the answer that we want, and especially if it’s not too hard.
That’s not unconditional surrender. And God wants even more from us than that.
God wants us to obey, and praise, him even during the worst circumstances.
“To praise God is to express our acceptance of something that God is permitting to happen. So to praise God for difficult situations, as sickness or disaster, means literally that we accept its happening, as part of God’s plan to reveal His perfect love for us.” (Merlin Carothers in his book Power in Praise)
Because, even in the toughest situations, we are called to accept God’s answer with no conditions.
Even when it seems to be the worst thing that could happen to us. And accept God’s timing when it is totally different than our timing. And understand when God does not choose to give us any answer at all. To not only set no conditions on our surrender but to also choose to go ‘all in.’
That goes totally against how we want to act and how the world encourages us to be.
But when we surrender, unconditionally, we don’t lose–we win!
Question: What part of your life is the toughest for you to surrender?
Action: Spend a few minutes dwelling on what it would feel like to totally let go.