Surrender

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?

Update

The other day I came downstairs to find Roberta and the kids getting ready for breakfast, and I had this epiphany that I share with them: we’ve been living here for 45 days now. Today, we are about 50 days into itineration and our new life, so, I thought I might give some updates.

By the numbers

-13 Services we’ve been a part of
-1700 miles driven to and from services
-about $700 in new monthly commitments
-45 total services scheduled
-26 Financial partners (both single donations and ongoing commitments)

Family

Zane has been doing home school, and he is really excelling, math and science are his favorite subjects. He does miss having friends he sees every day, but we are getting involved in different groups to help him make new friends.
Oliver is attending preschool now at a nearby Christian school. He loves going to his class 2x a week and is making new friends at school. Last week we had a field trip to the pumpkin patch on what I believe was the rainiest day of the year (not really, but it felt like it). The boys all went and were thoroughly soaked, but had a lot of fun! Zane and Ollie are both taking swim lessons at the local YMCA as well.
Addy is growing like a lot! She rolled over for the first time a couple of days ago and she has started to eat food. Her favorite food so far is bananas. We also think we’ve heard her say mommy.
Roberta is finding different things to do to get out of the house and keep the kids busy. We now have memberships at the Gilbert house (children’s museum), OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), and the Aviation museum at McMinnville (thank you Zane for homeschooling so they can pay for this for us). We are also now members of the YMCA. Roberta also attends a local MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) group which meets 2x per month.
I am doing my best to keep everything rolling and organized so we have churches to go to and are getting there at the right time.