A friend and I were talking recently about what “surrendering control” means. It was an enlightening discussion. We first talked about what she had been taught to believe about God being in control. It’s as if He is both sovereign and powerful but has given up His power to man’s free will, an easily misunderstood teaching. Misunderstandings make it easy to draw some hard conclusions about God. If He is all powerful and could control and fix everything but has chosen not to, then one could conclude that He is not a loving and kind God. From that conclusion, it would be very difficult to “surrender” to Him.
We draw wrong conclusions about God when we don’t understand pain.
Here is another conclusion that fits right here—If I have pain, trials, suffering, or bad circumstances, and God is powerful but does not fix what’s wrong, then He is a bad God. These lies about pain seem to be very prevalent. No wonder few want to surrender control. (See my book Re-Framing Your Hurts for more on changing this view.)
Our discussion moved on to how Israel was told to follow God and be blessed—and it was so. Most of us believe when God blesses us it means that good will happen and bad will not. Israel as a nation had better circumstances when they followed God, but each person still had every-day problems with sickness, losing loved ones, bad crops; bad relationships. Every jot and tittle of their lives was not always “good” even when the nation was following God.
Blessed is not about circumstances.
We are always blessed because blessed is not about circumstances. Blessed means that we always have God’s love and presence. We mostly judge being blessed by whether circumstances are good or bad. On top of that, we have a distorted view of pain. We take our view of pain from that tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil instead of the tree of Life. Our free-will choice is not between something being good or bad, but about whether we choose to focus on God or on our circumstances. God does not promise us that everything will be wonderful when we surrender control, but He does promise that He will always love us and always be with us. He is with us either way.
We fear bad outcomes if we stop trying to control others.
What about when a person we love is not walking with God as we wish they would? It’s scary to think about the outcome if we let go of control. We want to condemn, reject,or smother instead of letting go. We try to punish or nag instead of taking our hands off (give up control), and our minds immediately go to, “What if. . . ?” We imagine numerous bad outcomes if nothing changes in this person’s walk. This is our battle of surrender.
We have to give up the outcome.
Just because we let go and surrender control to God does not mean He will make things come out as we wish. My friend summed up surrendering control so well—we have to give up the outcome. It doesn’t work to judge who God is, what He is like, our relationship with Him, and who we are based on outcomes. When we get to this point of surrender, now we will realize what we really and truly know and believe about God.
It is very hard to trust a god who allows pain and sorrow if we don’t know what He is really like.
How do we trust God enough to give up the outcomes for which we so long? We tied it all together this way–we have to know and trust the object of of our faith. We can’t trust a god whom we think is powerful but doesn’t fix things, a god whom we see as bad and out to get us because of circumstances in which we are living. It is very hard to trust a god who allows pain and sorrow if we don’t know what He is really like.
Something has to change in our understanding and deep beliefs. God is not the problem; our circumstances, though often painful and difficult, are not the problem. The problem is our view of God and our view of pain. He wants to change those views so we can freely sit in His lap and know beyond doubt that we are LOVED, that we are SPECIAL, and that He DELIGHTS in us. We can experience how His grace makes each one of us His Favorite Kid. He does this as we see Him in the scriptures, read and listen to others who know Him as He is, and as we practice hearing His voice better and stronger.
A good negotiator brings both parties to a better outcome than if they remained apart.
A good negotiator helps two parties come to a place where both benefit and the outcome is better than if the two remained apart. When we surrender control, God benefits. God gets to be God, He proves His character, He knows what’s best, and resolutions come easier. But most of all, He gets to have His beloved son or daughter cuddle into His lap. When we surrender, we benefit. We don’t struggle as much trying to get things right, we get all our holes filled up by His love, and we rest. What could be a better outcome?
For a great study on surrender, get my workbook that goes with Hinds’ Feet on High Places. You will need the book and the workbook.