10 October 2011

On hating surrender

If there's anything I know about myself, it's that any worthwhile thought I have is really only something I borrowed from someone else. I think it's why I love books so much: they are my teachers. You don't have to sit through class or pay for credits or turn in homework. You just read and absorb and slide inside someone else's skin and brain and then slide out with every fiber stretched beyond its original dimensions--never to regain its old shape. (This also allows me to justify the inordinate amount of time I've spent browsing amazon.es since it opened last month.)

Jon Acuff (of Stuff Christians Like fame) has recently become one of my favorite writer/teachers. And this is as much of a prelude as I'll give; I just need to get out of the way already and share his article with you.

Why I Hate Surrender

One of Satan’s most brilliant lies is that if you surrender something to God, you’ll receive something less beautiful in return.

If you empty your hands, God will place something less amazing in them.

You’ll surrender gold and, in return, receive dirt.

This is one of the lies of pornography: That when you let go of that secret it will be replaced with humdrum, boring, vanilla, sex with your spouse.

This is the lie of chasing your dream: That when you let go of your plans and trust God’s, he will call you into a mission that you will hate.

This is the lie of holding on to hurts. That when you let go of your wounds, they’ll be reopened, not healed and redeemed.

Adam and Eve believed this lie when they traded Eden for an apple. Letting go of the things we think are wonderful will force us to receive the mundane, the boring, the safe, from a God who always trades down with us, never up.
The rich young ruler who was afraid to give up his riches believed this when he walked away from Christ crestfallen. He had too much good to trade in for so much average from Christ.

But it’s a lie.

It’s a perfect lie.

What father would give us a snake when we asked for a fish?

What father would throw a party when punishment was due?

What father would leave the flock to find the single lost sheep?

When you start to grasp this, a second lie will come and it will tell you, “I shouldn’t come to God just because I’m expecting good things from him.”

He’s no cosmic ATM, I agree. But the danger of this lie is that it quickly morphs into a joyless experience with God. Did the woman at the well say, “No thank you. I don’t want this living water you speak of. I don’t want to come to you just because I’m expecting good things”? Did the cripple who danced away healed say, “Leave me lame. I don’t want to come to you just because I’m expecting good things”? Did anyone in the Bible refuse a gift from the gracious father because they wanted to make sure their motives were pure before they accepted it?

No. They came with open hands and expectant hearts. They knew that the gift of his presence, the gift of his grace, would ultimately overwhelm anything and everything they let go of.

Surrender is not a sexy word, in part because we think it means letting go of something amazing in exchange for something average. But we’re wrong. It’s a lie.

Surrender is not the end of a beautiful life. It is the beginning.

1 comment:

Nick, Amber & Aaron said...

I just went to a YFC Staff Conference in St. Cloud and the theme was on Surrender, so this a perfect blog post. Plus, there were several staff from ND that I met/re-met and it made me think of you. They were from Grand Forks and Red River (Red Rock?) YFCs.