It seems as if we are living in a time of growing discontentment. I am sure that this has always been true. It seems that this unhappiness with life is more wide spread now. It seems like everywhere I look I find unhappy, angry and fearful people. The danger of being immersed in a culture of drama, is that we get swallowed up by it as followers of Jesus.
This past Sunday as we spent time looking at Solomon’s dedication of the temple. Wrestling through our passage in 1 Kings 8 I was stuck by Solomon surrender to the Creator’s plan for the national of Israel and the part that he was to play. I can only imagine the challenges of a building project of that scope and expense. Yet at the end of it all, we don’t hear a sigh of relief that it is now done but gratitude for God’s faithfulness through it all. What stood out to me is Solomon’s surrender to God. I am convinced that surrender to our Creator frees us from the disconnect of life’s changes and allows us to live in a place of freedom.
I have personally experienced a degree of that freedom as I have continued to surrender my plans, agenda and desires to the Creator’s plan for my life. We know that it takes surrender to become a child of God. The disciple John stated it this way in his Gospel account, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (John 1:12) It is only when we surrender our will to accept what Christ has done for us on the Cross that we are able to experience the power of grace through forgiveness. It is surrender that brings us into a relationship with Christ. I remember as if it was yesterday that point of surrender in my life on March 2, 1982 of giving up the mess of a life that I had created and asking God for help.
I have also experienced surrender at many different times in my life, as I have allowed the Holy Spirit to transform me. One of the keys of experiencing surrender lies in not fighting against God, especially when we face the undesirable, unplanned, uncertain and even difficult times. I am reminded of Peter’s word on this, “having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:16–17) The point here is God can and does allow trials in our lives even when we are walking with Him! Now, many times we cannot know God’s purpose, but we can hold onto the reality that it is His plan, and He is in control.
It is when we surrender to God’s plan, and timing, for our lives that we find that freedom that we truly desire. I find it amazing that freedom is not obtained by our control but through our surrender! It is then that our hearts overflow with gratitude, like Solomon, at what God has done through us.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson