“I surrender”, two words that when put together signal defeat… or do they? It truly depends on the situation. If you’re a captain of an army and after a lengthy bloody battle you raise the white flag and declare these words to your opponent then yes, you have been defeated. But let’s say that isn’t the situation, lets say you aren’t declaring those words to an opposition but instead to the Lord. Let’s say instead a physical battle, the battle has been internal, emotional and/or spiritual. You’ve tried everything in your power to concur this beast that’s been tearing you apart from the inside, and you’re all out of answers. So you raise the white flag and this time surrender this battle to Jesus. Contrary to common sense, this is not defeat, it’s victory! Victory in the fact that your worries and pains are now in the hands of the only one who can truly erase them for good. Victory in the fact that the one who literally created the heavens and the earth, the one who brought sight to the blind, the one who made death nothing but a gateway in which he is the ultimate gate keeper and the one who erased sin’s hold on the world; now has full control over the troubles that have been keeping you shackled. And if He can do all of those things and so many more, then why worry in the first place or even more continue to worry after we’ve surrendered? You may not know where you are going after this point but shouldn’t you be excited to go there as long as Jesus is “at the wheel”? The answer to that question is pretty easy. We are human. We are flawed. We forget. We want the pain to be over in our time not His.
In John 14 there are amazing verses of reassurance presented by Jesus to His disciples. One of my favorite parts of this scripture is the response of the disciples themselves. It’s so beautifully human. The man – who these disciples have literally watched raise a guy from the dead and commit numerous other miracles – has just told them to trust the plan, that everything will be okay in the end and that they know where He is going – and yet in verse 5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” To which Jesus responds in verse 6 with one of the most powerful verses in all of the Bible (I won’t spoil it but I encourage you to go read it if you don’t know what I’m talking about). Then here comes Phillip once again just being straight up #humangoals, Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Now if that isn’t me, I don’t know what is! And I would bet a good amount of money that is you too. I’m confident in this, because that is human nature. Culture has taught us that getting results “NOW!” (insert JG Wentworth commercial here) is very important and “what we deserve”. I mean just think about it. How many of you would have been REALLY annoyed if when you clicked on this link for this blog and it took your phone or computer or tablet more than 10 seconds for it to load? I know I would! And that’s over 10 puny little seconds – think about how the disciples felt after Jesus was crucified. They had to wait 3 days! That’s 10 seconds times 25,920! The load time for resurrection was ridiculous! That’s a lot of time waiting in silence. It must have been excruciating.
Silence can be the worst part of surrendering your anguish to the Lord. There’s a song that I really like that illustrates the whole process of giving up your pain to God. It’s called “A Prayer” and it’s by a band called Kings Kaleidoscope. It’s actually a very controversial song because it’s a worship song that contains a curse word. Which I’m sure you could guess stirred up a lot of heat in the Christian music scene. But I think the song is beautiful and it’s one of the most raw, real and vulnerable representations of what it’s like to experience doubt and pain and then giving it all up and surrendering it to God. The song is separated into two parts. The first part is the lead singer crying out to Jesus. Pouring out his fears and expressing that the silence is where the fear is (in the uncensored version) “f’ing violent”. This part ends with the singer exclaiming “Jesus, where are you? Am I still beside you?” over and over. Then the music fades and there’s a few brief seconds of silence. Then it hits. Blasting trumpets and drums in a symphony of triumph; I like to call this part “the response” which is supposed to be from the perspective of Jesus. With lyrics like “I’m right beside you. I feel what you feel. And I’m here to hold you, when death is too real.” The most shiver inducing, tear jerking, “praise God” line in the entire song for me takes place during the response. It says, “You know I died too. I was terrified. I gave myself for you. I was crucified, because I love you. Child.” Wow. Have you ever thought about that before? Really have you? The fact that not only did Jesus die for you but he felt the exact same thing that you’ve felt before He did. He felt fear, why? Because He was beautifully human… and yet perfectly God at the same time. And even through his fear, He still made sure to teach the men that chose to follow Him a very important lesson, His mission never took a back seat.
Verse 9 – Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.”
Haven’t we as a church seen Jesus work? And I don’t just mean Hope Community Church in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. I mean the church as a whole. In scripture, yes of course we have but outside of what we have read in the pages of the Bible have we not seen His works? When healing is brought in hopeless situations. Have we not seen the works of Christ Jesus? When love and grace was shown to another when it is ultimately undeserved. Have we not seen the works of Christ Jesus? When people around you are serving “the least of these” that are mentioned in Matthew 25. Are you not looking directly at the living breathing works of Christ Jesus? If you do not think so, I challenge you to think again. Just because Jesus has not come down from Heaven and personally carried out these works in front of us does not mean it is not Him working.
So when the pain is vicious and violent and “death is too real”, remember that not only is Jesus waiting for you to hand over the keys but he’s been there before Himself. He’s felt what you feel. You’re surrender will lead to the ultimate victory, because you’re giving Jesus the opportunity to work over your life.
Taylor Hernandez – known as “Biscuit” to the students has been working with Youth@Hope for 5 years and enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee and going to the gym in his free time.