May 25, 2011

I Surrender All

When I was a child, there was a hymn that always put a smile on my face when I saw it listed in the church bulletin. It was the song “I Surrender All” by Judson Van DeVenter from 1896. My brother, sister, and I would toss smirks at each other at the sound of the first few notes from the organ. There’s nothing funny about the hymn’s message, but there is a charming element buried in the song’s refrain when the male voices follow the female voices in a deep and unnatural baritone repeat of the words “surrender all”. It’s a delightful memory I have from my Southern Baptist upbringing.

It is unfortunate that neither the sentiment of that hymn nor the pleasantness of its emotion translate well to our present adult world.

I listen to tales of financial woes stretching across years which burden extended family members beyond any reasonable plea for assistance because someone bares his heels in the ground refusing to send a stay at home wife to work or the alternative, declare bankruptcy.

I know the torment of lingering grief from a broken heart which bemoans, “I deserve an exemption from pain this severe” as if coercing the Divine will restore the lost relationship.

I hear inmates at the jail repeatedly say, “I thought I figured this out the last time, but now I’m back. I hope I can stay clean this time.”

Almost everyone is heavy laden these days. I find myself reacting with a familiar internal response to most of their stories,

"Just surrender already. Hasn’t the drama and discomfort gone on long enough?”

Where, tell me, are any of us going to find help and peace without surrender???

The scriptures tell us, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 16:25
I am no expert on surrender. And I may need this exact message told to me in the near future. But I know that I’ve been through my own personal version of hell several times and those seasons of my life never ended until I decided surrender was less painful than the ongoing misery of hashing and rehashing my issues before God, holding out for my for my personal definition of a resolution.

He is God. I am not. And whatever He considers to be life for me will just have to do. When I fail, I must confess. And when I confess, I must humble myself to receive His dosage of tough love, whatever that involves.

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” Romans 7:18
The truth is . . . nothing good dwells in me or you, men and women of flesh, shrouded in all the trappings of sin, both mental and emotional.

Do yourself a favor, ask,

“Am I miserable right now? What is it that I have not surrendered?”

Then pray with your whole being for God to tweeze that splinter out and discard it. Healing will come, but not until then.

“All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.


I surrender all (women only), surrender all, (men only),
I surrender all (women only), surrender all (men only),
All to Thee, my blessèd Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.


All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.


All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.


All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

Refrain" -- by JUDSON VAN DEVENTER, 1896


Roo said...

I must admit, it has been a long time since I have taken the time to read your writings, but as always you have touched me with the words God has given to you, you are so truly blessed with wisdom and insight and it blessed me when I read it. I'm going to make it a point of keeping up on your blog because ot truly speaks to my heart and I need this encouragement right now.



The Curious Christian said...

Thanks so much Shelly. It encourages me to hear that. We all battle the same things and need the other members of the body to build us up!

Sending love your way,