The theme of surrender has been pervasive in my life over the last two years. Sadly, I cannot report that it was important to me over my entire lifetime.
What comes along with that though, is not “happiness”, so to speak. It is a lot of angst and frustration that is ironically, but divinely, mingled with joy, growth and peace.
It’s a weird gap to reside in ~ that gap between surrender and acceptance. I tell you now: the serenity prayer feels like it was made just for me sometimes.
How about you? Do you sometimes feel, as you press in to know Jesus more and let HIM live through YOU, the heaviness of the battle your flesh is waging? Do you feel like it’s dark and crazy in the gap sometimes? Do you wonder if you are all alone while you are there?
I so often must ask myself about certain things: Am I giving up on this or am I letting go of control and letting God take the reins? It’s hard, isn’t it? To discern the difference at times. That’s where the wisdom part comes in to play. That’s where true surrender really lies for me. Surrendering to the waiting game. Existing in the gap for a while. Remembering that Jesus is with me there. Trusting in Him to give me His wisdom. And then obeying His leading in my life ~ obeying.
What is the difference then between surrender and acceptance? I don’t have all the answers. I just know that God eventually enlightens me and brings me out of the bad one of the two if I am “doing it wrong.” He brings me out of it if I truly pray and wait upon Him. He whispers to me in ways I cannot explain to not give up – to let Him take it – to keep going. And yes, sometimes He reveals that I have to let something go. Sometimes those somethings are things I don’t want to let go of at all!
But the gap is the worst place for me, even though I am strangely thankful for it. How about you? I so often cry out to the Lord and say “please just tell me whether I am supposed to let go or keep going and try to change this.” But then I realize that part of my surrender to Him is being in the place of the not knowing for a while. He is faithful and merciful, and in His own timing, He draws me out of the gap and into the light.
He’s done that recently for me in one area of my life, and it’s abundantly clear. In another area, I’m still in that in-between place.
But I’m not alone.
It is so important to remember that the gap may seem dark, but His light is one that illuminates any crevice if we just let it take over ~ if we surrender. I think that’s what that peace and joy stuff of Jesus is all about. It’s not contingent upon human feelings, human vision, human experience. It’s the divine stuff that we truly don’t have adequate words for but that God knows how to translate directly into our hearts.
I don’t know about you, but I am almost always in the gap regarding one or two things (or more). But I try to remind myself that in so many other ways, I’ve been pulled up out of the ditch when I was close to losing hope it would ever happen. It’s easy to focus upon the parts we don’t like and the places we feel stuck in and forget to remember the ones the Lord has pulled us out of already.
So, I ask you today: Is there something in life right now that you aren’t sure about in relation to surrender and acceptance? Do you know if you are giving up, or if you are letting go, waiting upon, and turning it over to God? Maybe just asking that question prayerfully will yield an answer for you. And maybe it won’t yet, and the waiting will continue for a while.
I think the burning question for us is are we going to wait with the Lord? Have we invited Him to reside there with us? If so, let’s not forget that He really is there with us even if we feel like we can’t see Him. Let’s trust ourselves to Him and have faith that if we seek Him, He will reveal to us – in His timing – whether or not we need to do something different or continue to wait for Him to bring His plan to fruition.
Let’s also not forget to happily and willingly step out of the gap when He tells us it’s time. And until then? We get to hold His hand while we are in there. We get to call upon His magnificent and holy name and He will be there.
Only He can bridge any gap that we experience in a truly lasting and redeeming way.
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10 ESV