Note – I found this in my drafts today. Unpublished. Yet still applicable as we are being asked to continue to surrender each day through this unpredictable time. Praying for you all as you navigate change….
God gave me an image, of all the times I have stood in church or in prayer and extended my hands out to him in a posture of surrender. Empty hands, nothing in them. Extended as an offering of what ever I was holding onto that I wanted to now give up. Fear wants to creep in as we realize things are slipping out of our hands without control. As if our hands are extended out, water is pouring water over them and nothing can slow this flow. We have been forced to surrender so many things in our lives before we even had a chance to give them up. And it leaves us speechless at times and unsettled. That is what March felt like – trying to stop the water as it slipped out of our hands.
It humbles us to know that even when we thought that we had surrendered all, there was still more. For many of us God has been redefining complete surrender.
We can’t minster or disciple in the same way. We can’t gather or encourage. We can’t plan or predict our lives. So we find ourselves in a season of ultimate surrender. I am sure many of you have found yourselves in one of these postures over the last few weeks.
If we curl our fingers just a little bit to try and hold onto that water, it still slips away.
If we squeeze our fingers together tight to keep the water from slipping through, it flows over our palms that much faster.
If we refuse to let go and hold on with white knuckles, it still is pulled away from us.
If we clasp our hands together into one unified fist cupping the water, our hands quickly tire and we are left no choice but to stretch them out wide.
And so, what is to learn through all of this as we move through these seasons of surrender? We find that peace comes when we extend our hands out and allow God to have it all.
This is particularly important concept for me in ministry lately as I reach out to the emerging adult population. This time of life is a vulnerable point for them to begin with and this crisis has proven to really rock this group.
Many of them have lost job offers, internships, study abroad opportunities, their communities, commencement, work is not available for the summer and some have been told they could not graduate because they did not finish internships or clinicals. Their lives have been put on hold and they don’t know when or if they will resume.
The same as many of you. I was encouraged to receive the words of one of my students this week when she wrote me –
I am learning through all of this that my plans were not God’s plans. I feel like I have lost so much in just the last two weeks, but I have also gained so much as my perspective has shifted off of me and onto God. As I have been anxious over all of these decisions, I realize that this God I am learning to know isn’t anxious at all. And I am to trust in His redemptive nature through all of this.
And that is my hope for all of you right now – that through these weeks of uncertainty, you’re able to trust God that He will redeem this time for His good. Hands stretched in ultimate surrender.