I always find it interesting to read about the battles where one side is overwhelmed with unimaginable odds, and yet chooses not to surrender. Growing up in Texas, the Alamo was one of those we heard about a lot. In this tiny mission-turned-fortress, about 200 soldiers fighting for independent Texas held off thousands of Mexican soldiers in order to provide time for the larger army to later defeat the Mexican army at the battle of San Jacinto. The odds were ridiculous, but the Texans did not surrender.
I can’t imagine the fear that must have been going through the hearts of people in these kind of battles. They know somewhere deep inside that they are completely outnumbered and will probably die. But they count it worthwhile to stay, hoping that the outcome later will be worth their lives. They choose not to surrender, to fear or to the approaching army.
It stirs my heart to read about these brave people, and it reminds me that I also don’t want to choose to surrender, except to the One who is my victory. I don’t want to surrender to hopelessness that tells me I will never see the change for which I’m praying, or the end of a season of pain. I don’t want to surrender to fear that makes me obsess on the worst case scenarios and attempt to prevent and control outcomes I can’t see a way through. I don’t want to surrender to emotional or physical pain that tells me I will never have healing or relief, draining my life of hope for the future. I don’t to surrender to my weakness which repeats the same refrain over and over—you can’t, you aren’t enough, you will never make it. I don’t want to surrender to my anger and feel controlled and tossed around like being on a choppy ocean.
Any time I surrender to these things, I am worshiping at the feet of something I don’t want to be my idol. That’s an awful thought, isn’t it? I can make fun of the Israelites for chopping down a tree, carving an idol out of the wood and then worshiping it as if it has saved them or done anything for them. But I do the same thing with what people think of me (or what I assume they think of me), what I feel or what I think defines me. I want God to peel the layers off my eyes so I see when I am surrendering to the worship of an idol.
Only He is worthy of my surrender. Only He can provide hope in hopelessness, courage in fear, strength and healing in pain, strength in weakness, and freedom from the poison of pent-up anger. Instead of surrendering to these things and letting them define me and rule over me, I must bring them to Jesus and leave them with Him.
Do you feel weak? Tell Him and let Him be your strength. Do you feel hopeless? Tell Him and let Him be your hope. Do you feel angry? Tell Him and let Him take the poison out of the anger and free you to not obsess. Do you feel pain? Tell Him and let Him be your focus so that you can rise above the pain.
We are not denying these things, but are choosing not to surrender to them. Just like the people at the Alamo who chose to continue on even in the face of really scary odds, we are pushing through even when it seems crazy to do so. The difference, though, is that no one can steal our lives hidden in Jesus. Even death can’t do that, so we can see past anything that seems awful and recognize that Jesus has enabled us to be more powerful than any other thing thrown at us. No surrender!
“But I promise you, no weapon meant to hurt you will succeed, and you will refute every accusing word spoken against you. This promise is the inheritance of Yahweh’s servants, and their vindication is from me, “ says Yahweh. Isaiah 54:17