Faith vs. Surrender

desertSince I wrote the middle-of-the-night-scare-your-family-and-friends blog titled I Wish, I have been thinking about it quite a bit.  Somehow it was extremely freeing to write from the depths of my soul like that.  I think to open up and let the hard stuff be seen was a big step for me.  I typically hold it all in and “just deal with it.”  I wrestle in silence. I hold on by my fingernails to my faith in which God is always working and things always work out.  But as I reread the blog, I am drawn to the last couple sentences, “Light always follows darkness.  I simply have to hold on until it does, but this time I am not holding on…I am letting go.”  These two sentences are the ones that caused my husband to jokingly rename this my suicide blog.

As I look at it again, I see how it caused many to think I was in that kind of desperate place, but I assure you suicide wasn’t on my mind.  It was surrender that was in my heart that night.  Holding on vs. letting go.  You see, I have held on for a long time.  That is what we are supposed to do as people of faith, right?  Hold on to God.  Hold on to his promises.  Have faith. Believe things will get better.  Say all the scriptures to remind myself of what I believe. However, in the wee hours of that morning it all seemed like a cop out.  A pretending. Not a genuine heartfelt belief, but a façade.  Just words I say to make myself feel better.  The essence of the blog was the wrestling between having faith and learning to surrender.

Sur =over    render=to give back.    Sur + render = to give back over.

The difference struck me so, that I had a conversation with God about it.

I will never leave or forsake you.

I feel forsaken.

I know you do.  That’s a lie.

I cannot drum up any faith that says otherwise.

It is not up to you to drum up faith.  It is a gift I give.

Do you take it back? It feels like you have taken my faith from me.

No, I don’t take it back, but it can go dormant for a season.

To me faith seems like an easy answer, a cop out.  Just have faith that things will be alright. But it doesn’t look to me like things will be alright at the moment.

It is one way to look for faith.  But there is another way…look at reality.  Not all the churchy answers, but the real-life problems.  They are hard and so many get stuck between the hard stuff and their beliefs.

Doesn’t faith ask me to deny what I feel?

Not true faith.  True faith rises up despite what you feel.  It is not manufactured by you.

Have I been manufacturing all these years?  Through all the trauma?

No.  You have been holding on, and now you have let go.  There is a difference.

Which way is better?

Neither.  There are seasons of both.  Holding on is trust in me.  Letting go is surrender.  Both are equally needed.  One feeds the other.  Faith is when you know that you know that you know.  Surrender is when you recognize you know nothing.  You stop trying to figure it all out.  Your mind disengages and you fall on your face.  You wait for me to do it, because you realize you cannot.

I know that much. I cannot go forward.  I don’t know anything.  But I don’t want to hold it against you anymore.  Forgive me for my tantrum?

Forgiven.  Of course, forgiven. Always forgiven.

Please show me.  I don’t even know what I need to know or see…I only know that you are the way to find it and that you will open it to me in time.

Now, after this dialogue with God, I find myself back in the Valley of Dry Bones…one of my favorite passages. Ezekiel 37:1-14.  I can so relate to those bones, just lying there dry with no life in them.  But this time, in the passage I see something new I haven’t noticed before.  Ezekiel has faith that whatever God says will come to pass. He might not even believe it himself “Oh Lord God, you know.”  I find it interesting he didn’t say, I know…yet he had the faith to hold onto God’s words and to speak them.  He had belief whatever he was told would come to pass.  A picture of holding on.

Then, there are the bones.  They lie there.  It is all they can do. No breath.  No way to stand.  Just dry desert, and sunbaked bones.  They are submitted to whatever happens because they have no ability in themselves to do anything differently.  A picture of letting go.  Surrender. To give yourself over.  To give up.   To cease resistance to an opponent and submit to their authority.  It is kind of hard to think of God as my opponent, but I resist his authority so often that I make him into one.  It is when I lie on my face in surrender that he can work most effectively in my life.  I give up my rights…to be angry…to be hurt…to be in charge…to defend myself.  All of it. He is much better at defending me than I am anyway.  I become a dry, lifeless, bone.  I wait for his breath, because I cannot even breathe without him, and until whispers over me, “Breathe, so you may live,” I am stuck.

I am in a season of surrender.  Face down, flat on the floor surrender.  I do not know anything about anything.  I do not know the future.  I do not know if I will be rescued or I if I will remain in the desert floor.   I do not know if I will lie here for a day or a year. It is entirely up to him.  All I know is I am here until he breathes on me, because I cannot breathe on my own.  I long for these words. “Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your grave, O My daughter, and brought you up from your grave. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own place. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’”

Until I hear his voice calling to me….I let go.  I give up.  I surrender.

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