Suffering that leads us to Surrender

Reading through the scriptures you can’t help but notice a pattern… the histories and testimonies of the patriarchs, prophets, priests, and kings all point to a common thread they share.

Suffering.

Sounds ominous, but it seems to be ‘the’ process God allows or uses to accomplish His will, His purposes in our lives.

The struggle of our will against God’s plan seems to work as the catalyst for our transformation. (think Jacob with the Angel) 

We desire and direct our lives to a specific point, we include God and prayerfully ask for His blessing to our efforts, but often we find our way in decline and the struggle to proceed becomes harder and harder to sustain. It’s in this pain that we suffer and wait for answers, confused by the lack of progress or success and we wonder if God is against us.

Rembrandt – Jacob wrestling with the angel. Google art project

He’s not against us. NEVER ever accept that lie. All of History reminds us of His passionate pursuit of our hearts! The great struggle of our faith is to cling steadfastly to this truth.

I’m learning a lot about these struggles and suffering moments right now, finding that it’s in these ‘storms’ of life that I am redirected from pursuing God as a means to ‘my’ progress. He’s more than a part of my plan, He’s bigger than all my plans and ambitions, He’s the entire point of it all. We have to reorient our lives around HIM.

We grow when we surrender our need to ‘know’ and accept His goodness for today and trust it will continue into tomorrow. I believe things radically changed in my life when I admitted my divided heart. That I was only partially in love with God and partially trying to manipulate Him into giving me what I thought I needed… but definitely wanted. I believe in the end He wants to be the focus and center of all my desire. He’s passionate to give us His best, and He wants to become number one, the focus of our attention and love. 

The suffering of our lives puts those inconsistencies of our motives into the floodlights of God’s divine illumination – these personal epiphanies are the mile markers in our journey of faith. They become the moments of clear understanding and  lead us to repentance, but often only come when we are exhausted and overwhelmed. It’s in those depths of despair that we finally surrender to God and in doing so they become the keys to our spiritual growth and maturity.

Brennan Manning in his book ‘Ruthless Trust” notes that we desire to have ‘clarity’ in our lives, often praying for it… but he points out that God wants us to have ‘trust’ in His goodness and His plan for our lives. There is a difference. (my paraphrase)

Clarity is knowledge of what’s coming. Trust is belief that God is in control of the future and that His plans are better than ours. Surrendering control is the door to us finding His peace and freedom from fear… easy to type, hard to act on.

Lord Help us ‘trust’ you in our suffering, help us to continue to believe in your goodness and give up our need to know and simply accept your leading us to a better place, that your plans can replace our own.

Blessings to you – Pastor B.

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4 thoughts on “Suffering that leads us to Surrender

  1. Oh my Lord! Thank you for the encouraging words. I feel like a plucked chicken and even more scary is the things God’s revealing about my attitude and heart condition using my very own family to do it by the way. Nothing as of this moment feels right. I want to surrender to God completely and stop trying to justify my actions for better or worse. That’s a hard thing to do when your use to making your point heard. I just wanted to make like a bird and fly away. It’s been difficult to accept this way of Gods love. Prayers to overcome and end up on Gods side.

    • Phara – thanks for taking the time to share your heart. So many of us are in the ‘same’ place, but God is faithful to stretch us to the point of transformation. I believe you are going to discover something beautiful and comforting about God’s character and faithfulness in this season of your life… because that’s what I’m believing for mine 🙂

  2. What a timely read! I am currently at Penuel Ridge Retreat to study amd pray for wisdom. Penuel means to wrestle with God. I just got finished studying Ephesians 1:16 – 23 and praying for wisdom. Your article is a reminder that i may or may not leave with clarity but I know I can leave with trust intact! Thank you for writing this article. Sincerely, Steve

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