July 5, 2020: Surrendering That Frees

tree leaves and blossoms
Festival of John Hus, Martyred July 6, 1415

“Come to me, all that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Surrendering our will to God is one of the hardest things we are called to do, as a people chosen to be disciples of Christ. In 1846 Horatius Bonar wrote the hymn “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say,” in which he describes the experience of responding to the invitation of Christ Jesus to see the light in a dark world, receive rest for a weary head, and drink the life-giving water that comes at no cost . . . well, no cost other than complete and total surrender. It sounds a bit daunting, but how very freeing that change of thought and act of stepping out in surrender can be!

The 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous has a prayer to coincide with the third step: “Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him,” and we have the privilege and opportunity to daily pray the words, “God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always!”

Once we take these steps into discipleship, our purpose turns toward the path guided by humility, and we discover, in the way we live into the lives we have been blessed with, not just a gift we have received, but a gift we graciously share with the people and the world around us.

Timothy Naisby, pastor, Unionville Moravian Church, Unionville, Michigan