August 27, 2015
This summer was quite an eventful one. I returned to Montana to work on staff for the program that inspired Into the Wilderness and quickly discovered that although it was the same program, the Lord wanted to begin a new work in me, specifically a work of surrender. I was under the discipleship of Joy Schroeder, author of Tools for Mentoring, and was particularly drawn to Module 9: The Yielded Life. I was introduced to the idea that although I wholeheartedly love Jesus, there may be areas of my life that I have not surrendered to Him yet. Tools for Mentoring lists thirteen rights that are in need of being surrendered to God (ex. the right to have people’s approval, the right to use finances and possessions as you please, the right to the clothes you want); I found myself identifying with many of these areas and also having my own personal rights revealed to me by the Lord Himself. Having the Lord walk me through the process of surrender helped me loosen the tight grip I had on my life through cleansing tears and powerfully intimate times in prayer (trust me, I prayed A LOT). Week after week the Lord revealed a new area of life that I was holding on tight to, and week after week I came face to face with the same question.
“Why is this so hard to surrender?!?!?!”
It was in the book of Jeremiah that I found my answer. Throughout the prophet’s account, Jeremiah relentlessly communicates prophecies of fate to the people of Jerusalem regarding their continual rebellion against God and indulgence of sin. He receives hostile rather than repentant hearts, and Zedekiah (king of Judah) doesn’t exactly entertain the thought of his nation turning back to the Lord. In Chapter 38, however, King Zedekiah privately seeks Jeremiah’s counsel regarding the city of Babylon, one of Jerusalem’s most powerful oppressors. Jeremiah prophesies Babylon’s inevitable return to Judah and presents Zedekiah with two options: surrender to the Babylonians and live, or refuse surrender and die along with the city of Jerusalem. Zedekiah’s response:
Jeremiah 38:19 King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews who have gone over to the Babylonians, for the Babylonians may hand me over to them and they will mistreat me.”
“I am afraid…”
Aren’t we all? Isn’t that what makes holding onto our lives “worth it” and surrendering our lives “too costly?” Under all of the rebellion, hesitation, and excuses, we are afraid that the yielded life won’t turn out being what we thought we signed up for. This summer has proven that statement to be true: the yielded life wasn’t at all what I thought I signed up for, it ended up being so much better. I was set free from using my small hands to carry what God’s hands were meant to hold, and each step I took towards surrender was a step I took away from fear. The perfect love of Jesus really is strong enough to cast out fear (1 John 4:18); I don’t know that it makes the yielded life easier, but it sure does make it worth living.
Christ as my anchor