Near the beginning of my prayer class recently I wrote in my notes what I feel is my hindrance from the Holy Spirit…and that is Surrender or submission. I love the Lord with all my heart. I know God is in charge and I am not. I struggle with giving up the perceived feeling of control.
Then my teacher said “Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a response to our Surrender”. I thought he was going to point me out and call me by name!
It hasn’t always been like this. 25 years ago I preached in a Lutheran Church on Holy Trinity Sunday (the week of annual conference/synod convention). I remember being blessed and fully filled with a vision of how the Spirit had been working in me. Shortly after when I was married and had children, I became frightened and overly focused on being a good parent and my responsibilities that I felt ill-equipped for. So much so that although I knew God walked with me, but I had to be focused and did not have time or trust to work with God on my fears.
Fast forward to where my youngest is now 18 and has refused to cater to my obsessive worrying and need for control. I could not hold on to my facade.
Philippians 4:6-7 New International Version (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This scripture became absolutely my only choice over what seemed completely impossible. It is the recipe for peace. And yet I still cringe at the word surrender. I don’t go willingly.
Harvest Bashta is a worship leader and has a song about “signs and wonders” that I planned to re-listen to on the way home from my class. It was actually her other “Song of the Lamb” that pointed out surrender. If you Google her main phrase “May the Lamb receive the reward of His suffering” you will find that the phrase comes from a story about two Moravian missionaries as told here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moravian_slaves.
It is a story of complete surrender. Lord, create in me a desire for complete surrender.
This revelation for me came right ahead of my mother entering her final stages of life on earth. The following morning I got to sing praise songs with her, pray over her and shed a few tears as she surrendered her tired, pain riddled body to the arms of our loving Savior. My memories of that time help wade through the pain of getting to see and talk with her.
Surrendering to Christ is not giving up. It is victory. It is moving forward so that God can make all things new, including a reluctant, fearful, follower. Let it be dear Lord, let it be.