Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to sing. Not just in the shower or in my car when no one’s around, but really sing. I trained for it, I went to school for it… and I graduated college with a music degree that seemed to get me nowhere fast. So I found myself post-college, passionate about music and working a desk job. Enter frustration. What’s that verse from Psalms? “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Yeah. That was not happening, and I spent a lot of years disappointed and, at times, angry about it.
You see, I remembered the “desires of your heart” part, but had conveniently left the delighting in the Lord part out of the equation. My prayer was “God, why can’t I use the talents you’ve given me?” “Why can’t I sing?” “Why did I train for all of this?” Notice anything? There’s a lot of “I’s” in those prayers. My struggle was surrender.
Maybe you struggle with the same thing, where you long for that dream job or perfect relationship or find yourself dissatisfied or discontent with your present situation. Friends, God promises that He will provide all we need, but He asks that we surrender ourselves to Him and His perfect timing.
Scripture says a lot about time and the way God sees it: “With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years” (2 Peter 3:8); “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority” (Acts 1:7); “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11a). We can’t fathom the full reach of His plans or know the impact one decision we make might have on others and so, sometimes, our all-knowing Father asks us to wait. To be patient. Usually, the waiting is hard. Sometimes, it’s even painful, but every time, it is well worth it.
We are offered encouragement in Isaiah 40:31: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” The more we put our faith in Christ and His perfect plans, the more strength He provides to get us through those periods of waiting… and that period of waiting requires a whole lot of strength and even more surrender.
Surrender tends to carry a negative connotation, as though you have to settle for something less than optimal, but surrender to God is just the opposite. When we fully invest in our faith and say, “Okay, God. Your will be done; not mine,” we allow ourselves to be put in the right place at the right time, every time. That time might be a little further down the road than we’d like, but, trust me, it is coming, and the Kingdom impact we have will be so worth the wait.
I finally surrendered my desires one morning sitting behind my desk in a downtown high-rise with fluorescent lighting, and started praying, “God, how can You use me to glorify You?” Getting to that point was a long process… about five years longer than I wanted, and it involved a lot of soul searching. But today, I have the honor of leading others in worship–something I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to do–and I sit behind a different desk in another building with fluorescent lighting in the mornings… only this time, I am confident in the knowledge that God has me right where He wants me.
So, you see, surrender isn’t really defeat at all. It’s freedom, and it comes with rich rewards beyond our wildest dreams.