Three simple words. Three simple words that have changed the way I think drastically. Three simple words. “I. Surrender. All.”
We sing “I surrender all” just like every good Christian should. We even say that we mean it- and maybe we think we do. But the fact is. Do we? Do we really surrender all?
Most of us would answer this with a resounding yes- as would I have done just a few days earlier.
I’ll surrender my life, Lord. I’ll do what you want me to do. And you know what? That is an admirable thing to do. But that’s not surrendering all.
Lord? I’ll surrender these finances. Again, a wonderful thing that can be done, but that’s still not surrendering all.
Lord? I surrender my time. I’ll go to church, I’ll serve extra where You need me to. And yet again, a wonderful and needed thing, but this is still not surrendering all.
I myself came face to face with this fact in a startling reality. Do I, Erika Harned, really surrender my all? Sure. There may be many things I am willing to surrender but there are some things that I had yet to give fully to the Lord- things that will continue to be a struggle for me to lay down and give to Him. And yet, I am daily called to surrender my will and my wants to Him. And daily, I have to rely on his strength and help to do so- because I absolutely cannot do it myself.
You see, it is much harder for me to surrender my family than it is to surrender myself. I could surrender myself all day long but God wants my family? No thank you!
I was recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes. It may seem as if this diagnosis is not a big deal, however when you have been told that this could ultimately result in the death of your unborn son, it becomes a big deal.
I found myself almost angry with God. I found myself asking, “God, how could You? You can’t take him. You already have Luke. You can’t have Nathan too.” And the fact is, He hasn’t called Nathan home and has never given the indication that He necessarily will. But these thoughts of mine began to help me realize that I truly had not surrendered my all. I had not surrendered my family.
As I began struggling with thinking on things that were true and of good report, my mind was constantly brought back to my baby Luke. And the guilt that came with Luke’s death would wash over me again and again. I didn’t kill Luke. For some reason God chose to take him home. I don’t know why He did, but He did. But yet, the guilt of Luke’s death falls heavily on me. Maybe I wasn’t eating the right foods or maybe I was too active. Or sometimes, maybe my body wasn’t good enough. My body just couldn’t handle it. And even though I know it is not my fault, I still have guilt over the death my son.
And hearing that my body could be the cause of the death of Nathan began to eat at me. And I’ve prayed and prayed that God will not let me be the cause of death for Nathan too. Then the signs of another disease that could potentially take my son’s life came. And with it, came the fear and anguish. I could not lose my son. I just couldn’t.
I was faced again with the challenge, “Do I surrender all?”
My first instinct is to scream out, “NO! I don’t.” But I’ve had to stop and think. God the Father surrendered His Son for me. He gave up His only Son for me. For sinful, wretched me. How could I not trust Him with my son’s life?
This week I’ve really had to come face to face with the question of surrendering my all. The fact is, I haven’t. This is why I daily, moment by moment, must rely on Jesus to give me the strength to surrender all. Because in my own strength, I simply cannot.
*** update: This was written the day before I was induced with my baby after finding out that my baby was at risk of being stillborn. Thankfully, Nathan is doing great and has just turned a month old. We are so thankful for God’s protection on our child. I am also very thankful for the lesson that God chose to teach me through this trying time. I still have much to learn and still struggle with daily surrendering my all. My prayer for you is that this will help you to truly surrender all.