Our community group met last night at church and dove into a great discussion about surrender from chapter six of our “Freedom” workbook (from Church of the Highlands). On surrender the book says, “God calls us to love and serve Him above all else, and when we do, we see how we can grow in our purpose, live forgiven and forgive others, and receive His blessings. Freedom will help you learn how to surrender to Jesus and live in freedom daily.” Easy, right? Several people in group shared their challenges in releasing control in their lives to Jesus. A couple days ago severe pain came roaring back again after a nice break lasting almost a month. I told the group that I really struggle to trust God when my pain is so severe, and that I feel like I do a really poor job in this area of my life. One of the guys in our group got up, walked over, and gave me a huge hug. He had no idea how badly I needed that touch of affirmation!!!
Lysa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 Ministries shares this struggle as well; in her devotional “Releasing Control,” she shares the story of when her teenage daughter wanted to spend the summer in a remote part of Ethiopia doing missions work. Her response? “The minute she told us what she wanted to do, my mind started racing through all the scenarios of dangerous possibilities, from her plane crashing, to getting kidnapped, to contracting a life-threatening illness far from medical help. Fear overwhelmed my emotions so I couldn’t hear any of the details she was sharing. I just quickly and sternly said, “Absolutely not!” Eventually she was able to calm down, and in a quiet moment came to this realization: “The safest place for your daughter is in the center of God’s will.”
The Bible is filled with verses that speak to our fears:
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV).
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).
When we’re anchored in God’s Word, he gives us the strength and courage we need to face our fears and surrender our need for control.