Pain in the offering
A century old song haunts me. Embedded within its simple words and melody is, what I believe to be, our greatest ally as Christians—a will to surrender.
Few experiences in this life have led me to admit defeat and surrender myself fully to God. In fact, none have. I have often become disillusioned with some time-sensitive struggle and have asked the father what he might do if he were me (laughable, isn’t it?). But nothing, nothing has brought me to the throne of the king, face down, fully surrendered, and begging for mercy. Nothing.
Early in October, my husband Chris and I received news that the “two” of us would soon become “three.” Both excited and nervous, we couldn’t fathom everything this meant. We’d only just been married and were becoming used to each other as husband and wife. But to soon prepare for the little one that would quickly come into our lives? If ever a time to know the mind of the creator, how about now?
No sooner had we embraced the excitement of a new life did the absence of morning sickness and the onset of other complications lead to both confusion and concern. Yet, we were certain that the same one who began this life within me would surely bring it to completion.
As complications with the pregnancy increased, the more difficult it became to determine what was to come. I quickly grew numb from the doctor’s indefinite answers, for they demanded that we do nothing but wait. I even learned to read the ultrasound screen quickly, longing to see the right numbers creep higher with each passing visit. But I found no comfort even in man and his mechanical devices.
Tired and weary, I wondered if anything could possibly prevent what God had already ordained. Hundreds of prayers had been offered up on our behalf and we knew every word that was uttered was heard. We did not lack in faith; we knew this life was not our own, but belonged to the Lord. Therein lies our peace. Our heavenly father was holding me as the life woven within my womb was passing away. And I could hear him whisper, “Trust me.”
For years I’ve heard much about the nature of trusting God. We say it, “Dear Lord, help me to trust you more.” We sing it, “’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.” And we do it. Don’t we? Or do we trust so long as we still ascertain some amount of control? Is it easy to fall into the arms of the Savior if it means we still have some say in how far or fast we fall?
Are we so foolish to think that we, his creation, can do something that he, the creator of the universe, can’t? Don’t insult the one who bore the greatest pain as an offering for our worthless souls. Surrender. His will is greater than your own. His plan is more precious than yours. His power exceeds all principalities of this world. His mercy is endless. His love lasts forever. His peace passes all you’ve got.
So what happens when every device you design is stripped away and there you stand naked, bare, and longing for something to cling to?
I suppose Christ happens.
This is me. Naked, weak, facedown, pleading for mercy, clinging to the king. Because I’ve got nothing else.
All to Jesus I surrender;
All to him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust him,
in his presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.Judson Van de Venter