Laurie Coombs is a passionate writer and speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the hope found in Jesus. She is the author of Letters from My Father’s Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness, an incredible true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God. Her story was featured in Billy Graham’s film, Heaven, as well as on many other national and regional radio and television programs. She is a contributor to Zondervan’s NIV Bible for Women and writes at LaurieCoombs.org. Laurie and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their three daughters.
I thought I had surrendered to God, but it turns out, I haven’t. At least not completely.
I seem to be living out the early stages of God’s call on my life. Every day I wake up, I pray for God to use me and for God to show me the way with willing intent to following His lead, which is why I honestly thought I was living a life surrendered to God. But recently, God has made it clear that my level of surrender is not absolute. Up to this point, I have surrendered only in part.
Though I stand willing to do that which God calls me to do, I still want control over my time and how it’s allocated.
I must confess; I am not very interruptible. I’ve noticed this before, but it’s become increasingly clear over the past week as certain situations have challenged me to relinquish control of what I thought was my time to the Creator and Keeper of time, itself. Time, it seems, is something I hold onto––something I have yet to surrender to God. But as of late, I have realized that my time is, in fact, not my own. Like all things, time is a gift to be offered back to the Giver of all gifts.
But it’s not just time I struggle with. It’s self-discipline with food choices and maintaining any type of habitual exercise routine. It’s loving others well and putting their needs before my own. It’s giving way to the achiever in me and hijacking the lead in my calling. And so much more.
But as God highlights my areas of control, what’s becoming increasingly clear is that my life and all within it––all I receive––is to be offered back as a free-will offering to the Lord of my life to be used at His wise discretion.
Slowly, I see God releasing my grip on my desire to order my days, as He beckons me into deeper surrender––into deeper relationship with Himself. And I come, with hands full of all I grip as an offering to my Sustainer.
After writing my last post, Dying to Live, I began reading Andrew Murray’s Absolute Surrender, at the suggestion of Mark, one of my readers (thanks, Mark!). I’m not too far into it yet, but honestly, what I have read thus far has brought enlightenment to the once weighty and difficult-to-understand topic of surrender.
Murray explains that God can only bless a life that is in a posture of absolute surrender. And he illustrates this point with a tea cup. Only an empty tea cup is able to be filled with the blessing of tea. A cup previously filled with vinegar will not be able to receive tea. Likewise, Murray points out, a soul filled with lesser things cannot receive the fullness of God’s blessings. I like this analogy. And I believe it to be true. I believe this is why we are to empty ourselves of all we try to fill ourselves with, for nothing will satisfy by God, Himself. God knows this, and I believe this is why we are called to surrender––that we can be filled with God’s best instead of the poor substitutes we try to placate ourselves with.
I was reading a book about George Muller to my girls a few months back. The girls ate it up and often asked to read this book with an enthusiasm you’d expect to find when reading an award-winning children’s story, not a biography about some man who lived in the 1800s. But honestly, the girls and I were equally enthralled by this tale. As we read that short biography, I wanted nothing more than to live my life as he did. In my estimation, Muller’s life was characterized by passion, love, and perseverance, among others––but what characterized Muller more than anything else seems to be his commitment to absolute surrender. Muller lived a life surrendered to God, and his life is a testament to the favor God pours out upon His chosen when they offer themselves to Him completely.
This is who I want to be. I want to be a woman of God. A woman who is completely sold out for the cause of Christ. A woman who loves the Lord with all her heart, mind, and soul. A woman who continually, offers herself up as a drink offering. A woman who says, “Anything for You, my Lord!”
This is where Murray’s book comes in. He says, “God does not ask you to give the perfect surrender inyour strength, or by the power of your will; God is willing to work it in you.” It is true. We must “yield” to God in absolute surrender. But it is God who does the work––who enables us to carry out our absolute surrender. Murray explains that absolute surrender begins the moment we come to God in prayer––with a willing, believing heart––and offer ourselves up to Him. And when we offer our surrender, God accepts it and faithfully helps us to carry it out.
We simply must offer what we have and believe God for the rest. Oh, what a relief it is to know that surrender doesn’t rely completely upon us!
We serve a mighty God. A God who is mighty to save. And I believe it’s about time that we all choose to offer ourselves in surrender with complete assurance that our surrender is not only accepted, but is enabled and sustained by the power of the Spirit.