Delve into the transformative idea of surrendering to God’s plan and placing trust in Him. In this episode, I’ll explore the challenges of surrendering control, discuss inspirational biblical examples of surrender, and discovery the peace that comes form surrendering to God’s will. Let’s ignite that spiritual flame and deepen our connection with faith.
References to Bible Verses
Proverbs 3:5-6; Genesis 22:2; Genesis 17:19; Genesis 21:12; Genesis 22:8; Genesis 22:12-13; Luke 1:38; Acts 8:3; Acts 9:1; Acts 9:4-6; Acts 9:18; Matthew 26:38-39; Matthew 26:41-42; Matthew 11:28-30; Philippians 4:6-7; Psalms 25:4-5; 1 Peter 5:6-7; Psalms 37:5; Proverbs 3:5-6; Ecclesiastes 3:1; Psalms 27:14
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Welcome to the My miniature mission podcast. My name is Jason, and I'm your host. Now, if you haven't listened to the previous episode, episode 36, I definitely recommend it. I had a powerful conversation with Rob Oliver about learning God through limitations, and it was truly inspiring. Now, if you don't want to miss an episode out, go to myministrymission.com and click the button that says Get Podcast updates right there on the front page, and I'll send a notice right to your inbox when we have a new episode drop.
In today's episode, I'm tackling the topic of the power of surrender and trusting in God's plan. Now, trust doesn't come naturally for most of us. Our perception of God can sometimes be colored by our interactions with things of this world. But there really is a power in surrendering to God and putting our trust in his plan. So, today I will delve into this transformative idea of surrendering and we'll go into more detail into the challenges of surrendering control. I'm also going to give you some interesting examples of surrendering to God in the Bible. And then I'll add my suggestion for how to surrender. And at the very end, just a little reminder about God's timing. It's going to be an exciting episode, and I'm so glad you're here for it.
We humans have a deep-rooted need to have control over our lives. We make plans, we set goals, and we strive for outcomes that align to our desires. But what's a human to do when that pursuit of control becomes all-consuming? Or results in a disappointing outcome? It ultimately leads us to stress, anxiety and causes us to struggle against our own faith. Sometimes our need for control even extends into our relationship with God. I mean, how many times have you found yourself trying to dictate the terms of your own prayers? Or maybe you demand immediate answers to questions that you ask God. I think we have all been there. But understand the more we try to control things, the more frustrated, disappointed, and even depressed we become.
Surrendering control is tough for us. But why? We are creatures of habit. We like our lives to maintain a steady flow. Stepping outside of our comfort zone challenges us on many levels. Most of us avoid the unknown. We don't like the possibility of risk. So, we want to stay in a place where we can easily control the outcome of our lives. But the truth is, we're not in control and we never were. Surrendering our lives to Christ is a journey. It's not something we just decide to do and then we do it. We have to consistently surrender to Christ. And there are many reasons why this is so hard. Sometimes it's because we just don't want to submit. We're stubborn and we don't like to give up control. Sometimes it's because we're afraid of what God might ask us to do. Maybe you've tried before and have fallen short and the results were not that great.
I think one of the biggest reasons we struggle with surrendering to Christ is because we live in a sinful world and Satan is working really hard to keep us stuck in the world. So, he sows doubt into us and tries to give us reasons that we shouldn't trust God. He did it with Adam and Eve. So where do we start? I'd like to begin with the wisdom of Solomon in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways. Submit to him and he will make your path straight.”
The bottom line here is trust. Solomon is advising his son to live a life of trust in the Lord because God is worthy of our trust. Now, the Greek word for trust here is “bāṭaḥ” and it also represents being bold and being secure. Now, our trust in God gives us a feeling of security and confidence that we cannot get from ourselves or from this world. But this trust must be complete. You must trust, “with all your heart” which can take us down a path that we don't understand and that can make us fearful. So, we must be bold in our trust and know that God will direct us down the right path and we can go forward in peace, believing that through the counsel of the Holy Spirit, we walk the path that God intended, for us all along.
What does surrendering to God look like in the Bible? Well, as you can imagine, there are several examples, and I'll go through a few of them, starting with Abraham and Isaac. In Genesis 22:2, God said to Abraham, “take your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain. I will show you,”
Where to begin with this one! On page five of the Indianapolis recorder from December 5 1992 is a small article about a 31 year old man named Andrew Kate who stood trial for shooting his two year old daughter ten times, killing her. Now, what wasn't in the newspaper was that he claimed he was acting out of faith similar to Abraham and Isaac. He believed that God would perform a miracle at the last moment, preventing this heinous act. All so that he could win his brother over to Christianity. Andrew was sentenced to 60 years in prison in 1993. Now, to you and me, there is an obvious disconnect between what Andrew Kate did and the events of Abraham and Isaac. But this does help illustrate some of the challenges we face as Christians.
Look, nonbelievers will look at these scriptures in the Bible and try to illustrate the cruelty of God. But let's step back for a moment and look at this from a different lens. Genesis 22:2 is the first time the word love is mentioned in the Bible, and it is in reference to the love between a father and a son. Now, I think when we consider the role Jesus played in our salvation we can appreciate this picture of love because God the Father loves us all so very much. On its face, there's a bit of a conflict here. So I want to back up to Genesis 17:19, where God tells Abraham, “your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I, will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.” And also in Genesis 21:12, God tells Abraham, “it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”
Now, this creates a contradiction. God promised Abraham and Sarah a son named Isaac and then promised to make a nation of him. But now, in Genesis 22, God is asking Abraham to sacrifice his son which makes it look like this promise goes away. Now, this whole scenario is teaching Abraham to never put God's promise before God himself. We have to trust the promiser over the promise. If we do that, the promise will be taken care of. Now, Abraham does what he has asked and he takes his son to the mountain in Moriah and prepares him to be an offering to the Lord. But even Isaac kind of knew something was going on. In Genesis 22:7, Isaac's like, “hey, dad, I see the fire in the wood, but where's the Lamb?”
But Abraham's response was beautiful, though. In Genesis 22:8, he tells Isaac, “God himself will provide the Lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Now, I wonder if Abraham really trusted that God would provide a Lamb for them, or if he believed something like God would raise Isaac from the dead. But either way, he trusted God enough to do what he was asked and still believe in the original promise. Now, Abraham completely surrendered his love to God. But then, just as Abraham is reaching for his knife, God tells him in Genesis 22:12-13, “Do not lay a hand on the boy, he said. Do not do anything to him. Now, I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. And then Abraham looked up there in the thicket and saw a Ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.”
God asked Abraham for his son as the ultimate demonstration of love and commitment. And then God offered us his only son to demonstrate his love and commitment to us. Only that time, there was no ram to take his son's place. So, what's the difference between Abraham and Andrew Kate? Abraham was completely surrendering to God's will, but Andrew surrendered to his own impulses. Andrew tried to play the role of God to win over his brother instead of letting God do the good work.
My next example begins in Luke 1:26, with the angel Gabriel being sent to Nazareth to the Virgin Mary, who was pledged to be married to Joseph, a descendant of David. Now, I mentioned this before during the Journey to Nativity series in episode 13, but just as a reminder, there were three stages to a Jewish wedding back in those days. The first was a formal engagement agreed to by the fathers. The second was a ceremonial betrothal where promises were made, and then finally was the actual marriage about a year later. Now, when a couple was betrothed, there were some strict obligations of faithfulness and breaking the betrothal actually required a divorce. But anyway, so the angel Gabriel comes to Mary and tells her she has found favor with the Lord and that she will conceive and give birth to a son, and she was instructed to name him Jesus.
Now, understand how this would look. Mary is betrothed to Joseph, but not married yet, and she winds up pregnant. I mean, even in our modern times, that's a bit suspect. But back then, adultery could be punished by death. Mary was being asked to basically risk her life, her reputation and everything to carry the Son of God. But how does Mary respond? In Luke 1: 38 she tells the angel, “I am the Lord's servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” Mary accepted her position as a servant of God in complete trust that he would protect her, she surrendered herself to the Lord. We are often faced with difficulties in this world, and sometimes God asks us to do a lot and when he does, we can choose to surrender ourselves to him and let him guide and protect us, or we can choose to do it ourselves without God's guidance. Now, we often want to do it ourselves because it's our nature to resist the will of God, but we have to accept that what we do not see is the other side of this. We don't see it the way God sees it, and we're giving up something wonderful for a false sense of security and control if we try to go it alone. Is there something that God is asking of you right now that you aren't sure about? And if so, are you willing to kneel before the Lord and tell him, “I am your servant? May your word to me be fulfilled?”
Moving on to another example, let's talk about Paul's conversion. [Apostle] Paul used to be Saul of Tarsus, a man who viciously and ruthlessly persecuted Christians. In Acts 8:3, it tells us that Saul “began to destroy the Church, going from house to house. He dragged off both men and women and would put them in prison.” And then Acts 9:1 reads that Saul was “breathing out murderous threats against the lord's disciples.”
Saul was an angry and violent man, convinced of his own righteousness and hate against the disciples of the Lord. He was on his way to Damascus to imprison anyone who followed Christ's teachings, be it a man or woman. But as he got close to Damascus, a light flashed from the heavens, and as he fell to the ground he heard a voice tell him in Acts 9:4, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me now?” Saul is overwhelmed with this light and was confronted by his crimes of persecuting God's children in Christ's disciples. And Saul is clearly confused when he asks in Acts 9:5, “Who are you, Lord?” Verse 5 goes on, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” And then in verse 6, Jesus instructs him to “get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
When Saul got up and opened his eyes, he could no longer see. The Lord had struck him blind. So, the men traveling with Saul had to lead him into Damascus, and he sat there for three days, blind and refusing to eat or drink. Now, this is where it gets interesting, because we actually see two people surrendering to God's Will here. A man named Ananias, one of the Christians Saul was intent on persecuting, is asked by the Lord to go find Saul and place hands on him to restore his sight. Now, everyone knew who Saul of Tarsus was and what he was doing. And despite the threat of persecution, imprisonment, even death, Ananias found Saul and laid hands on him to restore his sight. And what happens next was powerful. Acts 9:18 reads, “Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.” Just like that! Look, Ananias surrendered to God under the most extreme risk as a Christian that he could imagine back then and Saul surrendered to God and abandoned his way of life to become a devout follower of Christ, dedicating himself to spreading the Gospel. And he went on to write a huge portion of the New Testament. Now, if you want to hear more about this in more detail, go find episode 5, of my podcast. It's an episode called “Unsung Heroes of the Bible: Ananias.”
Now, a big part of becoming a Christian is surrendering yourself to Christ, abandoning your old life and being reborn into a new life. It doesn't matter what you've done in the past. All that matters is how you lived from that point forward, live in Christ and trust in him. In my final example, we'll see that even Jesus surrendered himself to the Father. In Matthew 26:38, as Jesus is preparing to sacrifice himself on the cross, he tells Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, “my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Then he went further into the garden of Gethsemane and prayed in Matthew 26:39, “Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
Then he returns to find the disciples sleeping, and he's frustrated and feeling alone, in verse 41 he tells Peter, “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Isn't that a good way to sum up our worldly struggles? “The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” I don't know about you, but I understand that feeling. But, then we see him surrender to God, to the Father. In Matthew 26:42, “He went away a second time and prayed. My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
It's hard living a good life as a Christian in this world. It's really hard. I know you've been there. You've felt weak, helpless, lost. Maybe you're there right now and you need to hear this. When it feels like the world is starting to crush you, raise your voice to God and praise Him. Tell him, “May your will be done.” and know that you are cradled in the hands of the Father. And no matter how this turns out, he will be there if you are willing to surrender to Him.
All right, so what happens when you finally completely surrender to God and trust in his plan? Your burdens will be removed and your soul will be filled with the peacefulness that is illustrated in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Doesn't that sound wonderful? We take burdens upon ourselves and others pile burdens upon our own burdens. I know exactly how this feels! During the 2020 pandemic, I felt so much weight on my shoulders, so much pressure squeezing the life from my soul. And then I walked into a church and I sat down and let many of those burdens fall from me. The release was powerful, humbling, and I felt a sense of peace that I hadn't known ever before.
Now, understand that doesn't mean you'll never have burdens again. Jesus takes the burdens that are beyond our ability to manage and leaves us with just the stuff that we can handle. You and I still have to put in some effort into our lives. We don't get just wander around in some euphoric state of bliss. But once we surrender, we realize we're not alone. God is always present in our lives as the Father, as Jesus Christ, and as the Holy Spirit. Like many things Christian, we don't get to just surrender once and we're good. We have to do this every day, maybe even every hour. And every time you are feeling overwhelmed, anytime you have a problem beyond your grasp, surrender it and yourself to God and let Him help you. Invite God into your workplace, invite God into your home, and invite God into your problems, your sadness and your hurt. Let Him start fixing you and setting things right. Let Him start filling you with a joy and peace.
Philippians 4:6-7 teaches us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation. By prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Now, there's a distinction in here I want to point out. When it reads by prayer and petition or in other versions, by prayer and supplication, these are similar. Prayer represents our communication with God. It, can be as simple as, “hey, God, thanks for this great day.” But a petition or a supplication is a specific request. That means you're directly asking God to do something. Now, the part about thanksgiving is to make sure that we're not just whining to God and it gives us the opportunity to kind of reflect on some of the good things in our lives that God is doing.
As for the peace of God, now, the Bible describes three major aspects of peace that are related to God. Now, the first is peace from God, which is just that our peace comes from God, and it comes to us as a gift from our Father. And then we have peace with God, which describes the relationship we can have with God, thanks to the works of Jesus Christ, of course. And then finally, we have the peace of God, which is a powerful peace that we get, but we cannot understand. It is beyond our power of thinking. Now, the absence of peace is how we lose ourselves and this peace of God guards and protects our hearts and our minds. This is why surrendering to Him is so important. It's one of the reasons, at least.
Okay, now, you might be thinking, “this all sounds gravy, but how do we surrender to God?” Now, I admit it's a process for me, and as I mentioned, I'm still a work in progress. But this is how I go about this. I suggest you start with a conversation with God. Pray to Him and tell Him about your struggle with surrendering and ask Him to help you trust Him so deeply that you surrender completely to his will. Now, use Psalms 25:4-5 as an example. It reads, “Show me your way, Lord. Teach me your path. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God, my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Actually surrendering requires humility, and you must humble yourself. As Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourself, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxieties on Him because he cares for you.”
Understand that humility is essential to our relationship with God. And if we want to live in God's grace and surrender to Him, we have to first set aside our own pride and be humble towards God and towards each other. Pride and grace are eternal enemies. Pride demands that we get the blessings we want. But living in grace is accepting God's gifts as they are offered. Humbling ourselves also comes from the understanding that nothing in this world is our ultimate goal, we have to set our sights on eternal life in the kingdom of heaven.
Now, after you feel that you have humbly resigned to God's authority, it's time to commit yourself to the Lord. Psalm 37:5 teaches us to “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him.” Committing yourself to Lord means you trust Him, really and truly trust Him. The Hebrew word for commit in this verse is “gālal” which means to “roll” or to “roll away” as in let your burdens roll away. It's a means of demonstrating trust, a way of trusting God to let your burdens roll onto Him. Now, back when I was managing a team of engineers, I would delegate responsibilities and activities to them. The engineers I trusted more, I would give bigger and more important responsibilities to. Now, if we are committed to God, it means that we trust Him with every responsibility, with everything. We're willing to let everything roll onto Him.
Your commitment to God will lead to trust in God, just as Proverbs 3:5-6 teaches us, “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways. Submit to Him and he will make your path straight.” You pick up on submit to Him? To submit to God is to surrender to God and trust his understanding instead of your own. When you've humbled yourself and you've committed yourself, and now you feel trust in the Lord, it's time to take the next step. Take one of your struggles and send it up to God in prayer, and then petition God for an answer. Actually, ask Him to do something for you. He already knows what you need, but let your heart ask for his help and invite Him into your problem and accept his loving care.
All right, my final note on this before I wrap up this episode, and I promised a little thing on God's timing, but it's understanding and embracing that timing. If you ask for God's help, know that his help will come when the timing is perfect. The most famous verse I can think of regarding God's timing starts, in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Look, everything has its timing and when you ask may not be when you're ready to receive. But even if your petition to God isn't answered, you can still unburden yourself and trust that he is working good things in your life. Take advice from Psalms 27:14. “Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Humbling yourself. Committing to the Lord, trusting in Him and surrendering means we believe that at the other end of our problems is God's wonderful results. It may not be what you expect, and the path to get there might be a lot more challenging than you expected, but part of this is splitting the burdens with God. You do what you can do, and you have to trust that he will do his part. “Take heart and wait for the Lord.” This is so difficult sometimes because when it feels like the world is coming down around us, it's hard to hold on to that. Trust that God is working the problem. But I'm begging you, please don't give up on Him.
Surrendering yourself and your problems to the Lord. It's not an easy task, but it is worth it. It may take a few tries. You might have to practice this a lot before you get it right once, but when you do, it's going to be very rewarding. I found I'm truly at peace and truly joyful when I'm serving the Lord to my best capacity. And it's really a shame that I can't figure out how to stay there all the time. That being said, there's a lot to say about the try. Now, I believe that the Lord values our attempts. I believe that he mourns our failures, but he rejoices when we get up and try again. The Lord wants us to succeed and he wants us to be joyful and peaceful. So, if today wasn't a great day for you, try again tomorrow.
Come back in two weeks because I'm kind of working on an episode to share some of my experiences going from non-believer to Christ follower and how that has impacted some of my relationships in my life. Now, I don't know if I'll be done with it by next time, but I'm going to try. In the meantime, please, please like and subscribe or follow my podcast. I would definitely appreciate a review on Apple podcasts or Podchaser. If you like what you're hearing, maybe share it with your friends and family or a stranger on the street, who knows?
Visit my website at myministrymission.com and feel free to click the Contact Me link at the top of the page. Send me an email. if you're interested in being a guest, click the Become a Guest link on the page. Also, feel free to drop in on my social media, all the links are on my website as well as in the show notes for this episode.
Remember to love each other as Christ loved us. Until next time. May the Lord bless you and keep.