Complete Surrender

We all struggle with discouragement, suffer loss and feel grief. We are sometimes overtaken by fear and doubt. There have been, and will be again, times when we are fearful and feel our faith falter in the wake of some major crisis in our lives. Maybe, like me, you have fought a long hard battle with depression and you sometimes wonder if the fight will ever be over and if you really can endure until the end. Perhaps there have been times in your life when you were so exhausted from the fight that you even considered giving up. You have asked for guidance, for strength, for help from God, only to hear nothing and feel nothing but relentlessly deepening despair.

In those times, there is often a stream of well-meaning friends or family members who try to make it better, to lift you up and out of  the spiritual/emotional pit that you seem to be completely trapped in. While trying to convince you that things can’t really be as bad as they seem, to encourage you to keep the faith and trust the LORD,to comfort you in your darkest times, they usually say things like:

“You know, everything happens for a reason.”

“God IS in control. He knows what He’s doing.”

“He has a plan for your life.”

“God has promised that He will work everything out for your good.”

“Just believe! God will answer your prayer IF you have faith enough!”

“Just WAIT! His time is not our time but His timing is perfect!”

And my personal favorite, “He will never put more on you than you can handle!”

This is mostly good solid advice and is even Biblically based. In fact, I have given much of the same advice to hurting people on several occasions. Since I am now on the receiving end of this “encouragement”, I have to wonder, how many of those hurting people that I counseled had the same thought that I find myself thinking now, as well-meaning people are “encouraging” me? How many of them silently thought, “I know all those verses! I know how loving and merciful and kind our LORD is! I know that He is in complete control! But I am STILL hurting and you are NOT helping and I wish you would just SHUT UP!!!” I wonder how many of those desperate and hurting people just tuned me out as they smiled and nodded in agreement with everything I said?

As most of you know, I have been going through the hardest and most painful trial that I have ever faced. It has REALLY tested my faith. I have cried on a daily basis, sometimes many MANY times every day. I had all but completely stopped reading my Bible and having my daily devotions. I even found myself unable to pray. There have been many people who have quoted scripture and given spiritually sound advice. Several of them have even prayed with me and all of them assured me that they were, and would continue to faithfully pray for me. But even their very best efforts and the most inspiring scriptures failed to offer even the slightest relief of the constant, crushing and completely overwhelming pain that consumed my heart. It seemed to only get worse and I feared that there would be no relief.

But then, my aunt, Ann came to dinner. She tried to involve me in conversation. She asked me how I was doing and a few other questions that were similarly designed to inspire me to open up and share my feelings. I gave very short vague answers. I did NOT want to discuss it… again. But then came the question that I could not ignore. “How are you feeling about God right now?”, she asked. Well that really got me talking. I informed her that I was angry and bitter and disappointed and just didn’t have any idea at all how in the world that HE could allow something like this to happen to my family!! Then it was her turn to speak. She talked about His unfailing love and His infinite wisdom and His grace and even the fact that He was willing to forgive me for my anger toward Him and my self righteous accusation that He had somehow failed me. For the first time since the beginning of this painful experience, My heart was open and her words were sinking in. Then she asked me if it would be ok if she prayed with me right then. I agreed to let her. She took my hand in hers and began to pray. Her words were simple and to the point. She asked God to forgive me for my anger toward Him. She asked Him to strengthen my faith and give me comfort. She asked Him that if it was His will, would He please restore to me all that had been lost and fix all that had been broken in my life. She asked Him to assure me that He DOES have a plan and that He really is going to work all of this out for our good in His time. And, as a sign to confirm that He really would work it all out for my good, would He give me peace in my spirit? His peace. And you know what? He did. Involuntarily, I felt myself exhale a long breath as every muscle in my body began to relax. As she said, “Amen”, I felt completely at peace, though nothing about my situation had changed. I had changed.

That night I was able to pray a real prayer for the first time in weeks. And for the first time in two years I sincerely asked Him to have His will in this situation and in my life. For the first time in my life… EVER… I was able to truly surrender to myself, my will, my life to Him and say with sincerity, “This problem is completely Yours. I am completely Yours. My family is completely Yours. My entire life is completely Yours, LORD. Take it all and have YOUR way. Take this situation and work it out as You will and in Your time. Because, LORD, I trust You. I trust You with all that I have, all that I love and hold dear and with all that I am. I trust You, LORD. I trust You completely.”

You know what? I DO trust Him. And His peace is still with me. I’m sure there will be tough days. I’m sure that there will be times when I will need to be reminded that He’s got this under control, He is working it all out for our good and I don’t need to worry. In those times I will simply surrender again.

I am so very thankful that, when I had reached the end of my strength, He was right there offering His. I am so thankful that when I found myself helpless and had absolutely no control over my situation; when I had nothing left to offer except faith, He was right there to pick up my heaviest burdens, my most troublesome problems, my broken spirit, my shattered heart. In His time and in His way He will fix it all. I am so thankful for His grace when I am broken, His mercy when I have sinned against Him, His strength when I am weak, His wisdom when I am confused, His joy when I am down, His peace when I am afraid, His faithfulness even when I have questioned Him and His love when I need it the most. I am thankful that He is always with me even when I have ignored His presence. He will NEVER leave me. He will NEVER forsake me. Even though my faith is sometimes shaken; even though I sometimes allow this world and its problems to begin to harden my heart; even though I have self righteously questioned Him; He is ever faithful and He will never disappoint me. He will never fail. EVER.


About Shirley Ann Washam

I am an extremely blessed, divorced mother of four AMAZING children. Above that, I am a child of God! I pray that He would use this blog to speak through me to those who are hurting and discouraged. My goal is to share whatever is given by our LORD to uplift and encourage those who, like me, are blessed beyond measure, but still sometimes find themselves struggling to find answers and need a little encouragement. If you are in need of encouragement, I pray that you find it here, in the words that He speaks through me.
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5 Responses to Complete Surrender

  1. Pingback: The New Dawn | Dream Pilgrim

  2. karen wales says:

    Thank you so much for your latest blog. Ive found it very helpful and encouraging at the same time. My husband took his life 32 months ago unexpectedly. He was a believer and the week before he died he led a bible study. What you have written about your experience with depression and that feeling of wanting to give up has enlightened me, particularly in the area of ‘where was God in my husbands last days’ and what one goes through. My husband knew that others were praying for him and he knew Gods Word and this makes it harder to understand. Ive come to that God knew what was going on and had the power to save my husband but didn’t. He allows tragedy to happen and can turn it into good and I try and focus on this.

  3. Karen,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your husband, especially in that his passing was in an exraordinarily painful way for you and for others who loved him and were left behind. While it is always painful to lose a loved one, especially a spouse, it must be so much more heartbreaking to lose him to suicide. Along with the relentless pain, you have been left with confusion and with so many questions to which you may never have satisfactory answers.
    I pray that, during this time, you will draw closer to our Lord than you have ever before. I pray that you will lean on Him and draw on the comfort and the peace and the strength that only He can offer.
    You are correct in saying that our Lord had the power to save the life of your husband. He is ALL powerful. He offers to us all that we need to not only survive this life here on earth, but to live it victoriously and to His glory. The catch is that we must seek Him for our every need and trust Him to fill it. He has the ability to bind up our wounds, healing not only physical ailments, but emotional, mental and spiritual ones as well. However, we must trust Him fully and allow Him to apply this healing to our bodies, hearts and spirits. If we are unwilling to receive from Him,then His hands are basically tied and we are stuck in our pain.
    I don’t believe that people refuse Him on purpose. I think that we are often deceived by Satan. Satan knows the power of God. He knows that if we are allowed to receive all that our Father has for us then he has lost his hold on us and he has very little hope of ever getting it back. It is because of this, that I believe that he is ever present, whispering in our ear half truths and twisted scriptures and just flat out lies. He may tell us that, “Yes, God’s promises are true. But they don’t apply to you. They are reserved for the righteous, and YOU certainly aren’t righteous!’ How could you possibly believe that YOU are worthy to be blessed of God?! That is just laughable! You KNOW who you are! You KNOW what you have done! God knows too! He hasn’t forgotten your many sins! You may be able to fool your family and those people at church, but God sees EVERYTHING that you do! He even hears ALL of your thoughts! He would laugh right in your face if you went to Him for help!”
    While those things may sound rediculous, those are the kinds of things he throws at people who struggle with depression and with low self esteem. I would guess that he has probably tried out those same lies on every follower of God. When we begin to believe his lies, the world turns into a dark and hopeless place. Even if those who love us offer encouragement, prayers and words of hope, we hear the truths but in our heads we feel like they apply to everyone except us. We can use those same words to encourage others (we can even teach them at Bible study), and be completely convicted and convinced of their absolute truth. But they are words of truth that we, ourselves are completely unworthy of.
    It is so important, Karen, that you DO NOT feel guilty because of your husband’s suicide. The blame is NOT yours. When someone becomes so confused and discouraged and decieved that they would even consider taking their own life, there is NO DOUBT that satan has been at work. The blame belongs squarely in the lap of the devil. He was successful in his attack against your husband. You will be his next target. If he is unsuccessful with you, he will attack others who were close to your husband. DON’T allow him to do any more damage to your precious family! Your Heavenly Father IS right there with you. His promises ARE FOR YOU. Accept them. Share them with everyone who has been affected by this tragedy. Lies can only be defeated by the Truth of His word. It is a very powerful weapon and it is at your disposal. Pray. Pray without ceasing. As you do, you will find yourself becoming closer and closer to your Father in Heaven. And that is exactly where you need to be.
    Before I post this comment, I HAVE to add one last thing. Before I write it, I have to say that you may not be in agreement with it. I know of MANY who are not. But I believe what I am about to say, to be completely true and 100% in agreement with the Word of God. And I feel that it is something that everyone who has ever dealt with the suicide of a loved one NEEDS to know.

    I DON’T believe that suicide is an unpardonable sin. I DON’T believe that a person who takes their own life is denied entry into heaven just because they comitted suicide. I DO believe that if your husband had placed his faith in Jesus and His finished work at the cross, as the ONLY means for his salvation… then he was saved. He was a TRUE Christian, and as such, he IS in heaven, in the glorious presence of our LORD right now.
    I believe this to be true for ONE reason. I will share this reason in the words of GOD before I offer my own explaination.

    Ephesians 2:8-9
    Amplified Bible (AMP)
    8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved ([a]delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;
    9 Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]

    So if salvation is given by God, in His grace and it comes through our faith and we don’t have to do anything accept to believe in Him to recieve it…. if it is given by Him because of grace that we do not deserve and not earned by us through our works and lack of sin… then it is not sustained by us, our works or our lack of sin. We are saved by His grace as long as our faith is in Christ for salvation. We can place our faith in Him for salvation and recieve it and still struggle with the issues of life. It IS possible (and, unfortunately very common), to be saved without living a joyful and victorious life here on earth.
    Yes, it is a sin to take a life… even your own. But it is also a sin to have a bout of road rage and say or do something against Christian character and bring shame to the Name of Christ. Yet, people do such things often. Does it mean that they have suddenly become “unsaved”? What if, immediatley following such an outburst of road rage, the Christian in question, was invlolved in an accident and was killed before having the opportunity to repent and ask forgiveness for their sinful behavior? Would they open their eyes in Heaven or hell? If the answer is hell, then their salvation was never based on the FREE and UNDESERVED grace of God that is received by EVERYONE who would put their FAITH in Christ for salvation. If the anser is hell, then salvation is based on good works and not on grace. That would mean that it is earned and not freely given. And that is NOT AT ALL what He has very clearly said in His word.
    This is why I KNOW that, while the Christian who takes his own life has surely comitted a sin, he has NOT lost his salvation and WILL spend eternity in Heaven with our LORD and will be forever free from the pain that drove him to his very last act of sin.
    I pray that you are encouraged. I pray that you are finding peace and comfort in His love and in His promises, for they surely are meant for YOU.
    Trusting in Him,

  4. Thank you for this word it is truly encouraging, your true when the world is throwing us everything it can God is one to step in even when we feel He is soo far away that we dont realize to just lift our hands and he is right there to grab our hand in our greatest time of need.

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