Surrendering is hard. The act itself does not require much thought, and in fact is actually the easier part of surrendering. I think the hardest part of surrendering is in the mind. Our minds play a big part in our process of surrendering.
Coming to France was a big act of surrender for me. I came here not knowing what to expect (yet having certain expectations), and all I was really certain of was God, but even that I think was a little shaky. The months leading up to my departure were filled with making preparations and a carefree spirit. When asked where I was going to live when I went to Lyon the answer was always, “I have no clue, but God will provide.” Those words were so easy to say, so easy, but when it came time to actually live out those words, boy was I ever a mess. I felt so lost because I couldn’t see what God was doing.
“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.” (Job 23:8-9)
I had all these expectations on how God was going to reveal himself to me and provide for me. I thought that maybe I would have a roommate in bible school who was from Lyon, or maybe they had connections there. The next idea was that maybe I would meet some people who had connections in Lyon. Maybe as I was looking online I would be able to find the perfect place to live, in the right area and at the best price. However, as the months passed by, and I was getting into the latter part of November, and my searches were not showing any prospects of a place to live, I began to panic and become scared. What was God doing? Didn’t he know I needed somewhere to live? I couldn’t see how he was working in my life.
I don’t know how many times I cried about Lyon. Too many! But really it was unnecessary (it was still good to cry though.) I was so set on God providing for me my way that I became fearful that he wasn’t going to at all. In this moment I had no choice but to fully surrender myself to him and his will and not be afraid of the storm.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.” (Job 23:10-12)
Job was a wealthy man, we are told, and he had found great favour with God. (Job 1:1-5) One day Satan came and talked with God about Job. Now long story short God allowed Satan to do whatever he wanted to Job, short of killing him. (Job 1:6-22, 2:1-9) Job had lost everything: his children, his animals, his servants, and even his health. There was a darkness that surrounded him and he didn’t know why. His friends thought that maybe he had done something wrong in the sight of God, and Job continually denied that. But there was finally one friend who reminded him that we cannot know the mind of God. (Job 22)
“Therefore I am terrified at his presence; when I consider, I am in dread of him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me.” (Job 23:15-16)
I find this verse so enlightening into the life of Job at this moment. In the verse before Job talks about how everything God wants to happen will happen, and in the state he was in, Job was scared about what God wanted. It was not a pleasant place for Job to be in. But at the end of the chapter Job says this, “yet I am not silenced because of the darkness, nor because thick darkness covers my face.” (Job 23:17) Through all the trials that Job faced he didn’t ever turn away from God. In verse 10 Job talks about how he will come out as gold after he has been tried. He sees his suffering as a purification process and not a destructive process.
For me personally the phrase “Surrendered, not silenced” means that I have surrendered my life to God, everything that I am is in his hands, and whatever darkness surrounds me will not silence my eagerness to follow my Father. Job had surrendered his life to God. There were moments of fear and doubt, but he didn’t allow the storm that he faced, or the darkness that surrounded him, silence his need to follow God.
You know God did provide for me, in more ways than I can count, and in ways that I never imagined. He didn’t leave me to fight the current alone, he was there pulling me through to where I needed to be, when I needed to be there. That is why I will remain surrendered to his will and not silenced by the darkness.