Surrender has become a cheap word in the Christian community. We sing along with our favorite worship leaders in our favorite style of worship music truly believing that we have a strong sense of what it means to live a laid down life for Christ. We find ourselves singing, “I surrender.” and “You have my heart.” We sing things like, “You’re the fire, the Refiner, I wanna be consumed”. Here is what I have learned about faith: it is costly. It requires a total willingness to own nothing, be no one, and see nothing while simultaneously understanding, “in Christ everything”. Faith becomes your eyes. Have you ever marveled at the fact that we are called to use faith to see an invisible God? It’s one thing to step off a cliff but what if you can’t even see the ledge of the cliff you’re stepping off of? The truth is, even the most well-meaning of us all have no practical idea of what surrender looks like and why it is so important in our relationship with God. Yet only those who have entered the fire.
Last November I quit my job working as a floor nurse in a medical hospital to pursue a calling I heard from the Lord for Nigeria. My husband and I were scheduled to move to Nigeria in January of the following year or at the latest February. Of course I could never have known that by March 2020, the entire world would enter a cataclysmic time of turmoil as nations all over the earth responded to a viral pandemic. God was not surprised. He already had the day marked out on His calendar and His word to me accounted for these timely events. I cannot say the same for myself.
Certain circumstances of which only God knows kept us back from going to Nigeria in the months of January and February. The team that already had resided in Nigeria for the previous four months returned home by word of the Lord.
Enter global shutdown on a scale like we had never seen in our lives. Suddenly, we were all sequestered to our homes apparently for the sake of public health. Airlines shut down, borders shut down. Some states were even more extreme. Certainly there was and still is a political climate that has continued to drive it all here in the US but I won’t share too much on that just now.
We had quit our jobs, left our house, halted our lives, and now we were stuck here in the states having not tasted of what we felt the Lord had promised. If I’m honest, the first few months were a breeze. As time went on, it was difficult to make sense of what our purpose was here. For at least a year I had cultivated in my heart this desire to return to Nigeria and free those who are demonically imprisoned (that’s another story) and to begin teaching and investing in a people who desperately need Jesus. Now, I was faced with having spent nearly a year waiting to enter the battlefield that I knew raged on in Nigeria.
Certainly demonic voices come in moments when we wonder if God has changed His mind towards our calling. Voices that speak to the failure of our endeavors or the comparison of our successes. Yet none take hold as strong or as firm as those that question our relationship with the Lord. We all must be open to the discipline of the Lord if we get His voice wrong. However, it is not that circumstance in which I speak of. It is that one in which we have every confirmation and every true reason to believe God and we decide not to. Why do we decide not to? We have thrown away the confidence of our trust in the Lord (Hebrews 10:35)
Sometimes we can have this unspoken contract with God of how long we are willing to believe without seeing. Time becomes our enemy in this way because all the real enemy has to do is request delay for our hope to be stolen and our faith broken. IF time becomes something that breaks our faith and steals our hope then our faith was not very strong to begin with.
We begin to think we don’t actually know the voice of God and we question our relationship with Him, crippling the very thing that makes communion with Him possible. It is this kind of attack on the mind which we cannot abide.