The Bible is full of paradoxes. Consider these:
-Matthew 10:39, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake with find it.”
-James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.”
-2 Corinthians 12:10 “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
-Acts 20:35 “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
Here is another paradox that is not explicitly stated in scripture, but is found all over by implication: When we surrender, we win.
The idea of surrender is generally not a pleasant one in our culture. Probably because surrender has become synonymous with losing. If one is in a fight and they surrender, they consciously choose to stop fighting and accept defeat whether in games, sports or warfare. The outcome ranges from hurt pride to loss of freedom.
Biblically though surrender takes on a whole new meaning. Surrendering to God means that we give up our way of living, and do what God wants for us to do with our lives. Sometimes it is easy. Most of the time, it is not. Sometimes we struggle with God over His will for our life. I like what Mark Batterson says about wrestling with God: “The problem of wrestling with God is that when we win, we still lose.” When we choose our will over God’s will, we miss out on good things that God wants for us.
We certainly wrestled with God over His calling in our lives to pursue missions. We could have said no. We could choose to not live in God’s will (He did give us freewill after all), but we chose to surrender. The best thing about surrender is when we give up our will and follow God’s, we become open to so many great things He has for us! I daily look forward to the adventure that God has called us to in Japan: ministering to a people who by and large have no idea who Jesus is, the adventure of living in a new culture and raising my kids in both cultures. Additionally, the friends we have made as we travel about in Oregon, Washington and California are awesome, and we would have made so many of them without saying “yes” to God.
As 2017 is getting started, I want to challenge you: Are you wrestling with God about something? Is there anything you have heard God tell you and you decided to do your own thing? How can you make these things right with Him?