Several people have asked about my son being so far away from home next year when he goes off to college, inquiring about how I feel about this. I can tell you how I feel about it now: I feel grateful to God that my son has found a place that inspires him, that it has the programs in Media that he loves, that it has a campus setting where true hospitality and warmth and friendly relationships are evident . As to how I'll feel in the middle of next year, I'm not quite sure. It's uncertain what the ramifications of the great physical distance between us will be.
This morning I opened up to today's devotional reading in Oswald Chamber's book, My Utmost for His Highest, and this is what I read from April 29th's entry: "Our natural inclination is to be so precise- trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next- that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing." Oh yes, Mr. Chambers, I know what you're talking about here.
That's really the underlying issue when we talk about Surrender: what will happen when I surrender to God? If I give my life to Christ, will I be sent to some hut in the uttermost end of the earth? If I surrender the situation I'm in- to God- will He work the situation out or will He give me different feelings about it or the ability to cope with it? (and maybe you don't want the ability to cope with it- you want it solved!!).
I always come back to a little verse in Proverbs that I love: "The desire of the righteous is only good, But the expectation of the wicked is wrath" (Prov 11:23 NASB). Another way of zeroing in on the parallel between what a God-loving person wants and feels and what a person who rejects God has in sight is that one word "expectation". My expectation is that God is good and He does only good, not evil. While His ways don't always appear good or easy, I am repeatedly told in Scripture that not only are His ways higher than mine, but His essence and His work is- and has always been- good. First thing in the garden of Eden we read that God does a work of creating things and they're GOOD. From the first command of "let there be light" we see that God immediately declares and summarizes his work and the result of His work as good. "God looked at the light and saw that it was good."(Gen 1:4).
Now of course there are many times that at the start of an ugly situation we might mistakenly call it good- and we shouldn't. Or we might wrongly conclude that God wants something out of us in a situation and that isn't what He is doing. But in spite of uncertainty as to the complexity of God's ways and His thoughts, I know they are GOOD. And ultimately I will see and experience this good. Ultimately, or perhaps in Heaven, I will "see" the good when I didn't see it before. But my gut belief has to be settled on this topic because it continually comes up over and over again. While I may be uncertain as to what God is doing, what He is trying to extract out of me (like getting wine out of grapes), I know that what He IS and what He DOES is only good.
So when we talk about Surrender, we have to address our underlying question about what happens when we surrender to God: our underlying question is "Will it be good?". We want to know what God will do- but we won't know His plan in total. We won't know the myriad of ways He is trying to reach us, get through to us, grow us, mature us. There is uncertainty about what He will do, yes. But there's no uncertainty about HOW IT WILL BE: IT WILL BE GOOD.
God does no evil or harm to your soul. Settle that once and for all and you will be a person who looks at the future, who looks at the unknown, and takes God's hand and declares: I serve a good God. May it be unto me according to Your will.
And then you smile and look forward.