Surrendering over and over

Things are so, so good. And things are so, so hard. Maybe you feel that way too? Our hards are all different, yet they can feel in us and do in us the same.

Right now, my hards have been giving me a spirit of fear. Do you ever feel it too? Sometimes starting in your toe and creeping up your leg; a little pest? Sometimes sitting hard on your chest, or filling you to the top of your head, filling you to overwhelming?

Yet I am reminded – by myself, the Spirit of God in me, those in my life (thank you!), by Scripture –  that I need not have a spirit of fear, because instead I have one of sonship/daughtership. Scripture reminds me that the Spirit helps me – helps us – in our weaknesses, that if God is for me – for us – who can be against us?, and that nothing can separate me – separate us – from the love of Christ (Read Romans 8; it’s powerful stuff.)

So what do I do when the unwelcome companionship of fear hits? I recognize it in me, and I ask my people to pray for me. They listen to my fears, and they remind me that I am a beloved child of God and he is FOR me. One speaks a word over me; a powerful reminder to surrender to what my body is doing and to find God there. The Holy Spirit reminds me of Mary’s willing prayer: Let it be to me according to your word. And I’m reminded of what I read about St. Francis in The Road to Assisi:

Joy had returned to Francis. During a night of sleeplessness he heard a voice saying to him, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you would say to this mountain, ‘Be removed from here,’ and it would move away.” Was not the mountain his sufferings, the temptation to murmur and despair? “Be it, Lord, according to your word,” Francis replied with all his heart, and immediately he felt that he was delivered.

Francis might have perceived that the mountain had not greatly changed its place, but for several days he turned his eyes away from it and had been able to forget its existence.

And after a day’s break from fear, it rolled over me again. And someone again prays for me. And these words roll around in my heart and in my head until they roll bigger and louder than the fear: I surrender. I surrender. I want to know you more. I want to know you more.

So I will repeat those words. I will turn them into my anthem. I will keep calling on the comfort of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of my community. I will trust what Romans 8 says: that the Spirit helps me in my weakness, that the Spirit intercedes for me through wordless groans. And I will turn my eyes from my mountain – my suffering, and turn my eyes to Jesus instead. And I will do it as often as I need to put the mountain of my suffering’s existence in its proper shadow – that of Joy and Love and Peace himself.

Do any of you suffering want to share this anthem from Hillsong with me?

Here I am
Down on my knees again
Surrendering all
Surrendering all

Find me here
Lord as You draw me near
I’m desperate for You
I’m desperate for You

I surrender

Drench my soul
As mercy and grace unfold
I hunger and thirst
I hunger and thirst

With arms stretched wide
I know you hear my cry
Speak to me now
Speak to me now

I surrender
I surrender
I want to know you more
I want to know you more

I surrender
I surrender
I want to know you more
I want to know you more

Like a rushing wind
Jesus breathe within
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me

Like a mighty storm
Stir within my soul
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me

Like a rushing wind
Jesus breathe within
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me

Like a mighty storm
Stir within my soul
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me

I surrender
I surrender
I want to know you more
I want to know you more

I surrender
I surrender
I want to know you more
I want to know you more

(YouTube video here)

So here I am. Surrending. Over and over. As many times as needed. Saying Lord have your way. I don’t know why. I don’t understand. I don’t know how long this will last. I don’t know what the next moment holds. But I can see beauty here, even in this. I maybe even see you here, most in my suffering and in the suffering of those I walk with. Lord have your way. I surrender and I want to know you more. I surrender. I want to know you more right here where I find myself.

Sing with me?

I picture us – the broken, the suffering – holding hands and singing and surrendering together, and it is a beautiful picture. May God hold you tenderly in your fear and may the Holy Spirit be your comfort. May you be able to yet praise, and if not, the Holy Spirit groan praise within you.

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(Gems from the Internet on illness and withstanding suffering here and here. Art from one of my favorite and local artists Nikki McClure, currently on my wall, reminding me to praise and keep praising.)

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