So what does it mean to surrender; to bring your spirit in line with God’s will, when everything seems like it’s upside down and it feels as though God isn’t there. How do you surrender, or rest or have peace when you’re in the midst of a trial and anxiety is high and troubles abound?The word surrender is defined as giving up or handing over. It is described as stopping or ceasing resistance to an enemy or opponent and submitting to their authority.
In his life David endured some of the hardest trials and seasons of uncertainty, and yet he penned many great Psalms about resting and trusting in God.
Psalm 131 (English Standard Version)
I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
131 O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.
In this short but powerful Psalm, David describes His state as that of a child, resting in its mother’s lap, and he illustrates an important dynamic in his relationship with God. He describes himself as being completely at God’s disposal, just as the child is entirely at the disposal of it’s nursing mother.
A soul that is rested in Christ, in all that He is; the soul that trusts in God completely, learns to quiet itself under whatever circumstance – to grab hold of that peace which surpasses all understanding. The soul that puts all it’s hope in God quietens itself under the loss of what it loved, in the midst of disappointments in what it had hoped for,
The soul rested in God is at peace whatever happens.
When we find ourselves in a place where our situation or circumstances are not what our minds would like or hearts can take, we must bring our minds and our hearts into the TRUTH of our situation and condition – that we are loved, truly deeply loved and that all things are working together for the good of those who love Christ. We are called not only to salvation and victory but also to rest, to peace. God is always in control; He is seated on the throne.
David had come to a place were He did not concern himself or focus his thoughts on things which did not concern him, or those things which were beyond his control. Rather than be filled with concern worry and doubt, David had come to rest in God, he was not speculative and he minded his own business and left other people to mind theirs.
David had matured and learned to master his spirit, to cast down every vain imagination and fruitless thought. He had quietened his self-will and had learned to master his spirit, just as it is written the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet.
Psalm 131 vs. 2 (New International Version)
“But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.”
Think for a moment about a child who is being weaned and the process of switching from milk to solid food. At first when they are refused milk, they resist the change. They cry, fight and rage against their mothers.
They resist and fight the change, which is for their good. But over time the child stops resisting and is no longer angry with its mother. The child now finds comfort in the very same mother who has withheld its favourite thing. It rests in its mothers breast, the very same breast it desired so greatly. To this weaned child its comfort is its mother, though she has withheld his greatest comfort.
Many times when God is moving us forward we resist change, we fight and cry and wrestle with God. God is real, He is not merely a feeling, and not everyday is butterflies. Some days, weeks, and even season are testing, are difficult and it is in those times that we often mature the most in Christ. We must learn to stand, to be still in Him, and trust God no matter what the circumstances. God is constantly at work in our lives, transforming us into His image day by day – I pray we perceive it.
There are many areas in our lives where God calls us to do the same as this child; to rest in Him trusting that the new diet He has for us is better than the old. Often when God removes something or deals with something when we are “not ready” it can be like this for us.
In this walk with God we need to grow, we can’t be stagnant, we need to move beyond those elementary truths of Christ and who He is and begin to actually walk in it. The word and truth of the Bible needs to be our reality, it was Jesus who said He was and is the way the truth and the life – we must see it’s fullness.
It’s a great thing when we can have such surrender as David describes in these short few verses. When we can put aside every childish murmur and complaint, and take up our crosses daily and walk in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I pray we come to the place where even when the Lord removes our dearest delights, and delays our deepest desires, we can submit ourselves to His will without a complaining thought. Even greater if we rejoice at such times, and learn to praise Him as we part take in His sufferings, for even Christ learned obedience through the things He suffered.
Hebrews 5 vs. 8 (Berean Literal Bible)
“Though being a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered.”
Christ is the first among many and no servant is ever greater than His master. If Christ the Son of God learned obedience through the things He suffered, then we will learn the same way.
Though we are denied things, God Himself must be our comforter, how great it will be when we are able to let go of those things we once thought were essential, and come to find our peace and solace in the one who denies them to us.
There are seasons for everything and sometimes it is the season to stand on all we have learned and put those truths into practice. Many of us are like suckling’s when in reality we ought to be fathers and mothers, we ought to be teachers of the word. I pray we grow into people God has destined and ordained for us to become.
Hebrews 5 vs. 12 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
“For you ought to be teachers, because of the time you have had in the doctrine, but now, again, you need to learn those things which are the primer letters of the first words of God, and you have need of milk and not of solid food.”
We need to grow in maturity and in our understanding of the things that happen to us and the trials of this life. We need to be thankful for those trying times, which promote growth and maturity.
Psalm 119 vs. 71 (King James Bible)
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”
Afflictions that subdue our affections, which take us away from relying on our own strength, are a great blessing. We should be grateful for those trying times which teach us to love God not only when things go our way and when he comforts us, but also when He says no, or tells us to wait – we should be grateful for those things which teach us to love, trust and depend on Him when when He tries us.
If we can come this this place we will no longer be tossed and turned by the waves and storms of this life, with it’s passions, noises and ambition. We will be rested in Him with our souls in a state of peace, fully content in Him – His grace is sufficient for us.
And so the chapter ends with the true conclusion of the matter – that we should put our hope in God.
Psalm 131 vs. 3 (King James Bible)
“Let Israel hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever“
At the root of all worry, doubt, anxiety is a lack of trust in who God is and His intentions towards us. If we could truly understand the love God has towards us, and the plans He has for us – not only in this life, but in the eternal – we would learn to trust Him at all times. As this verse says; let us put our hope in God from “this time forth and forever” in all situations.
We are assured of our ultimate victory, and we ought to believe this truth. We must hope, confide and trust in God and His goodness. In such hard times, afflictions, troubles and trials – we as the people of God, as His inheritance have no need to despair. On the darkest night, those who love the Lord can have peace and assurance, we will have our deliverance – joy comes in the morning and the morning is promised.
I pray we come to know the fullness of this great God we serve and that the peace that surpasses all understanding would reign in our hearts.
Christ came that we may have life, not just any life but that abundant life.