If you’ve been around a good parent for long enough, you know what it is. The more I see new mothers’ and doting fathers’ about their normal lives, the more I see it. When I think about my own mothers’ avoidance of dessert after a family dinner, I now realise that it’s about much more than fussiness or calorie counting.
Sacrifice and surrender are culturally repulsive words that threaten our safety and post-modern belief. Sacrifice and surrender are two words that can halt us with fear, and cripple us with an impending sense of pain! Because we value quick, automatic, instamatic and the road-most-travelled routes through almost everything, even the sound of these simple syllables and thought of their implication can fill us with dread. At the Sunday Gathering this weekend, Dave Belfield continued to explore the different seasons we encounter, and how our response and positioning in these seasons can either release or restrict us engaging with God and his mission.
Dave posed the poignant question, ‘What ever happened to surrender?’
To us, asking what happened to surrender may seem like an odd thing to ask; outdated and irrelevant, even. Why should we even consider surrender when we don’t have to? Picture a parent hauling themselves out of bed five times each night to settle a hungry and screaming baby… we understand, without the surrender of their sleep for the benefit of the child, they won’t grow to full health. With careful financial planning and saving, the single parent sacrifices as much as they can for their son to make their way through university and propel them into a meaningful career. When we think of a parent and child relationship, sacrifice and surrender make sense: when you love someone deeply, you will give and abandon everything for them. The greatest picture of surrender is one of Jesus laying his own will before God in the gospels of the New Testament in preparation for his brutal murder. For God so loved this world, he sacrificed his son; God is so devoted to humanity, that he gave everything so that all people might know him and his glorious redemption from brokenness.
We sacrifice and surrender for that which we love. No amount of compulsion, guilt, or force can give way to true surrender, only devotion to something or someone because of love. There is a beautiful scene of undignified devotion in the book of 2 Samuel, which Dave shared with us at the Gathering: a picture of a regal king, dancing recklessly out of adoration for the God he loved, and in that very moment, surrendering his credibility, reputation, and even the affections of his embarrassed wife (2 Sam 6:20). Through the story, Dave shared that perhaps for a king who had been sold out for his own gain and selfishness, the outburst of praise in 2 Samuel was the king realigning himself with his creator in undignified devotion.
If you are a follower of Christ, all of this begs the question, who are you devoted to? Is there anything you are unwilling to sacrifice or surrender that you’ve tried to avoid? Has the church become so safe and comfortable, that we feel violated when we are challenged to surrender all for the sake of him who surrendered all for us? Sometimes hymns say it the best, and the simple refrains of old call our current position into question- can we truly say these words?:
I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Saviour,
I surrender all.
Hymn by Judson W. Van DeVenter
Author: Rachel Calland