Suffering and Surrender

I don’t enjoy talking about myself, in person or in writing, but I have something personal and powerful to share – an event that altered my life in a way I could never have imagined. The experience was miraculous and the change permanent.

In my early twenties I was struggling with choices I had made – choices that harmed me and hurt others. I wondered if my life had any meaningful purpose. Don’t most of us have the same thought at sometime in our lives? I listened to others, hoping someone had an answer. No one did. I attended church faithfully where people talked about the love of Christ. I prayed, but nothing changed. I was still angry and bitter and broken. Then one day I heard about Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, an act of love carried out to make it possible for a person to find reconciliation and peace with God. That news changed everything. Christ’s sacrifice required Him to totally surrender His will and his very life to God the Father. In Christ I found my answer.

So how did I personally become reconciled with God? It wasn’t by study, or bargaining, or joining a religious organization, or taking a class, or being born into a religious family. The best way I can describe it is SURRENDER. Surrender every part of your being – heart, mind, strength, and soul. That’s what Jesus did for us. Should we give any less?

My cry to Jesus was simple. “Jesus, I’ve made a mess of my life. I want you to be in charge. I can’t do it.” That’s when the miracle happened. At the time I didn’t know Christ had worked a miracle in me but I knew I was different. In that moment I believed my life had purpose because Christ was willing to die for me. Why would he suffer death on a cross unless my life was worth something to Him? Only by reading God’s word and the mentoring of others did I begin to comprehend the miracle.

All people are born with a soul-spirit. From birth this part of our being is separated from God. It wasn’t always that way. When God first created the human race there was a pure relationship between God and His creation, a spiritual bond between the Creator and the created. Then the human race was corrupted by envy and deception and evil and the bond was broken, the relationship damaged. God grieves over this great loss yet still desires to repair the broken bond between Himself and every human being and restore the pure relationship that existed in the beginning. Only Jesus Christ can heal the relationship and renew the bond. Jesus offers the miracle of reconciliation with God.

Different words are used to describe this reconciliation – salvation, redemption, being born-again. There’s no single word to adequately describe what God does for those who surrender to Him. He knows our hearts and minds and knows if we are sincere when we call out to him in total surrender.

Surrender starts with the heart and the inexplicable connection between the heart and mind. Surrender your heart to Christ and He will transform your mind. In some areas the change in your thinking will be immediate, in other areas more gradual. I experienced both. If you’re suffering because of your own actions, then the life choices causing you pain will no longer be appealing.

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

Book of Romans, Chapter 6, Verse 14

If you’re suffering because of the actions of others, Christ, working through the Holy Spirit, can take away the power of your pain. Notice I said the power of your pain. The pain may linger but it will no longer have power to control your thoughts and your actions. Christ will give you the wisdom and the strength to overcome. He will renew your mind and heal your brokenness and Christ may give you an opportunity to use your pain to help others.

We must recognize that God is Holy and we are not. God calls us sinners in need of a savior. Jesus is the savior sent by God to heal our sin.

“In Jesus we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.” 

Book of Ephesians, Chapter 1, Verse 7

There’s a popular saying among Christ followers: Salvation is given by grace alone, through Christ alone, by faith alone. When I surrendered my life to Jesus, I was so pleased with myself, proud of my decision to follow Christ. It was seven years later, through the study of God’s word in the Holy Scriptures, when I realized this restoration would not have occurred unless God had first decided to draw me to Him.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Book of Ephesians, Chapter 2, Verses 8 and 9

Even my ability to have faith is a gift from God. By grace alone, through Christ alone, by faith alone.

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous person; though perhaps for the good person someone would dare to even die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we now have the reconciliation.”

Book of Romans, Chapter 5, Verses 6 through 11

My redemption miracle happened in 1991. I’m still thanking God, loving God, and learning about God while doing my best to live in a way that brings glory to Him. And He continues to work in me, transforming my thoughts to align with the mind of Christ. My prayer for you is simple — surrender to Christ so you can receive the miracle.