January 1, 2019 – A new year. A time to reflect on the past year and look forward to what’s in store for the new year. A few year’s ago I began praying about a word or phrase that I felt God wanted me to focus on and grow from. This year the word surrender keeps coming to mind. It’s not really what I had in mind. According to Miriam Webster, surrender means to give oneself up into the power of another. In this case, I am resolving to surrender everything to God. If you google surrendering to God, there are a ton of memes that make it sound easy and holy and the answer to all your problems. I don’t believe it is that easy, but I do believe it is necessary.
As a Christian, an important prayer is “They will be done”, but when life isn’t going the way we want, when prayers aren’t being answered in the timeframe we want or in the way we want, the “Thy will be done prayer” becomes much harder. Currently, I’m going through a situation just like this. God has not answered my prayers in the way I want. My first reaction was fear. My word last year was fearless. God really spoke to me and calmed my fears and I was able to share what He had shown me with women at my mother’s church and other’s whom I have been given the opportunity to share this message.
God’s glory was lifted high to many others through my experiences, but God has not changed my circumstances and although my fear is abated, I have recently begun to have other ungodly feelings about my situation – sadness and honestly a little anger. This is where surrender comes in. As I first began considering the need for surrender, a sadness started settling in. It felt like I was giving up something that I wasn’t ready to give up. It was like I was becoming almost martyrish (is that a word?)…I was giving up, but honestly not in a good way. My frame of mind was not good. As I began to pray about my attitude, I felt God’s love and presence and something else. My word for this year needs something else – Joy. Surrendering to God’s will – His plan for my life (even if it’s not what I think I want should lead to the fruit of the spirit, including Joy and Peace. Getting to that point is not easy and it takes a daily laying down of myself and studying God’s Word and praying. The same thing I tell my Sunday School students is true for me and for you. Whatever your situation is…I purposefully did not state my current issue because I believe this applies to many different “issues”. First, fear rears it’s ugly head. We get that under control and then anger and sadness begin to worm their way into our hearts and cause us to not have the peace God offers us. We’re not giving up by surrendering; we’re accepting God’s gift of Joy and Peace that passes human understanding. It’s not a quick fix by any means. It takes staying in the Word, but it is so worth it. Living the life God has for us can be exciting and filled with Joy even through the hard times. My prayer for 2019 is to surrender and feel God’s peace and joy daily. I’ll leave you with a scripture from 1 Peter 5:6-10:
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.