If you’re reading this today, and you feel like life is hopeless, there are a few things you can do. One thing you can decide to do is give up. It seems reasonable. It’s a simple solution, and it’s popular – a lot of people make this decision because they think they’re out of options. This can turn into a self-glorifying pity party, or it could become a serious withdrawal from others.
Or you can try harder. Sometimes this works – you swim to the top and manage to get some air, and hopefully you tread water long enough for the flood to subside. Of course, this is assuming the flood will ever stop. Life is nasty and unkind – the world is full of turmoil and self-seeking behavior. No one is “out to get you”, but if you don’t get where you want to be fast enough, someone else will get there. And don’t get me started on money. That never lasts very long — if it does, it’s usually at the expense of your soul.
Or, you can surrender.
Surrendering is different than giving up. Giving up says you’re done altogether, and you’re more willing to collapse in a heap and rot away.
Surrendering means you’re submitting to another force. You’re allowing someone else to take over, to take control and make the decisions.
We don’t like this option very much – see decision number two above for the alternative. Surrendering means we don’t get to do things our way. And that sucks, because who cares what someone else wants?
This is under the topic of Bible Commentary, so I’m clearly talking about God. But that’s not the only entity you can surrender to. You can surrender to your job, your autonomy, your vice, your friends, or even your significant other. If you want to go straight spiritual, you can surrender to the devil – and you don’t even have to be a member of the Satanic church to do that.
But the surrendering to God is what I’m getting at. It seems like a terrible idea. But it’s not. There’s a lot of joy in it. Suddenly, it’s not about who you are and what you’ve done, but who you are not, and what you cannot do. Hebrews 11:6 says it is impossible to please God without faith. Impossible. I don’t care how long you’ve been going to church, how often you smile and compliment people, how “good” you are – and no one is totally “good” – there’s no winning. You can’t even break even.
Ezekiel takes a bit to stop writing about the horrific curses placed on a bunch of nations and talks about people. He says that if a person takes the time to right what was wrong and turn to God, he will live. Likewise, Isaiah writes that there is room to “revive the heart of the contrite ones”. Humility is cool stuff to God. And that makes me glad, because I can decide I’m not important, and He makes me important and lifts me up.
So, don’t give up. Surrender, and God will heal your heart.
Luke 14:7-11: So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Ezekiel 33:12-16: “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’ When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die. Again, when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
Isaiah 57:14-16: And one shall say,
“Heap it up! Heap it up!
Prepare the way,
Take the stumbling block out of the way of My people.”
For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry;
For the spirit would fail before Me,
And the souls which I have made.