What does it mean to surrender? To yield to the power, possession, control of another…to give up completely. In a military situation the weaker side may be faced with surrendering in order to prevent bloodshed. Sometimes we surrender or ‘give in’ because we are just tired or frustrated with the circumstances of our life.
But I want us to consider what it means to surrender in the scriptural sense…the relinquishment of one’s own will to that of a higher power…surrendering to God.
When you think of someone surrendering you probably can visualize the person’s arms stretched out and raised high up.
Surrendering to God however; presents a different visualization, one of a person totally relying on the grace and guidance of God not in a position of defeat.
Surrendering to God allows us to let go and let God take over in our lives. Surrendering to God allows us to let him lead us in all that we do with our life. Let’s look a minute at the Prophet Jonah. Jonah ultimately was led to surrender to God in order to save his fellow seamen from the violent waters. God saved Jonah in the belly of a large fish and spewed him out after three days and three nights. (Remind you of anything?) Jonah attempted to ignore what God asked of him by fleeing only to find that his presence on the ship caused trouble.
Jonah says in 1:12 “…Pick me up and throw me into the sea…since I know it is because of me that this violent storm has come upon you.” He ultimately surrenders to God’s will and is later instrumental in saving Nineveh.
Now I want you to consider Queen Esther. Esther in a time of distress for her people prostrates herself upon the ground, together with her handmaids from morning until night. Begging for God to help her, Esther prays “Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O Lord, my God.” Prayer of Esther C: 12-30. Esther surrenders herself to the mercy and intervention of God.
Prostrating oneself before the Lord is such an outward sign of surrendering. I am reminded of how prostration is such an important part of the Ordination to the Priesthood ceremony. Laying face down on the floor signifies before the whole community their complete surrender to do the will of God.
While hanging on the cross, Jesus surrenders himself into the hands of his Father with these words, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46) This was an echo from Psalm 32:6 which Jesus certainly knew well. This beautiful verse is also prayed daily in the Divine Office during the final prayer of the day.
When things seem to be out of control in your life; recall this verse. “Into your hands I commend my spirit.” Make it your mantra.
What do you find difficult about surrendering?