What does it mean to surrender a loved one to God?

What does it mean to surrender a loved one to God? Does it mean you turn your back and walk away?

No, certainly not. Surrendering does not mean abandoning. It does not mean you no longer care.

Surrender is motivated out of love -- such deep love for the person that you are willing to get out of the way and let God sit in the driver's seat. Admit it: with us in the driver's seat, things weren't going quite so well. There were just too many things we were powerless to control.

Surrender is choosing to yoke up with Jesus.

"Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Surrender requires a profound trust in God. Trust that He will do a better job in the driver's seat than we were doing. Trust that He has our loved one's best interests at heart, that His heart is inclined towards them. Trust that He knows what He is doing, He knows every moment of the future, and that He never stops working. Trust that even if it may appear that He has forgotten them, He has never taken His hand off them.

For you have made the LORD, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.
Psalm 91:9-10

I hear her heart's cry. My heart cries out likewise. It certainly appears that evil has befallen us, our families. That we have been abandoned and unprotected. I look at my life, at your lives, full of pain and hardship, and I wonder, is God really working for our good? Is He really protecting us?

I am thinking of a parallel verse from 1 John:

… He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. 1 John 5:18 NASB

And in the Amplified:

… the One Who was begotten of God carefully watches over and protects him [Christ's divine presence within him preserves him against the evil], and the wicked one does not lay hold (get a grip) on him or touch [him]. 1 John 5:18 AMP

It sure looks like evil has befallen us. That the evil one has gotten his putrid hands on us and our families.

Let's look up this word touch, lay hold, get a grip on. It is haptomai

Hmmm… We cannot walk through our lives unscathed. We are all "touched" by evil in that sense of the word – but haptomai means more than just that. It means a deep binding to the enemy. Because we belong to Jesus, the evil one cannot wrest us from His hands. Satan can grope around for us, but he cannot get a grip on us. He can handle us, but cannot exert a modifying influence on us. He can nudge us, even collide with us, but he cannot connect us to him. The evil one cannot haptomai us, for no one can snatch us from Jesus' hands.

I have come to understand that belonging to Jesus does not guarantee no pain. It does not guarantee we will not be affected by the wickedness of the world. It does not guarantee our lives and the lives of our loved ones will be untainted by trouble. It does not guarantee that we will not make sinful choices with horrendous consequences.

Belonging to Jesus does mean that God is working for our good. He has ordained each trial, each battle. We are under His shelter of protection – and only He knows the full extent of what His protection really means: that we are conformed to the image of Christ. Satan may inflict pain in his attacks, but, just as we read in Job, in the end, Satan is still God's servant. God has the last word.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Looking through eyes of the flesh, we may see lack of God's protection. But looking with eyes of God, we will see the eternal weight of glory.

~ * ~

Celeste Li, M. D. is the author of
Triumph Over Suffering: A Spiritual Guide To Conquering Adversity
She is active member of Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens Florida.
Celeste teaches a course in Triumph Over Suffering and serves in Christ Fellowship’s Ministry for the Suffering.

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