Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: Surrender

The Way of Surrender
A devotional by Jamie De Silvia

“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”—Mark 14:36 (NIV)

I had very little church background when I gave my life to Jesus Christ on Valentine’s Day in 1988. With a great deal of curiosity and determination, I set out to learn all that I could about the One who had saved me. Oh, how I yearn to share with my 16-year-old self the insights and wisdom I've gained since then about walking with Jesus.

I would tell her not to worry so much about her sin, that Jesus went to the cross knowing she would make a million mistakes, both deliberately and unintentionally. I would assure her that our Heavenly Father is carrying her in His hands, not holding her at arm's length in disapproval. I would warn her against wasting years of her life trying to please God by performing in her own strength. I’d tell her that transformation isn’t her job—it’s the Holy Spirit inside her who will accomplish it. I would take her hand, look her in the eyes, and tell her that the answer to every problem and challenge is simply surrender.

Today, I understand what I could not comprehend on that special day 36 years ago: The most important thing for me to practice is letting go of control and putting my full trust in the Lord. It took me a long time to come to this realization because many things are easier than surrender. Worrying, performing, controlling, planning, and analyzing are all easier than surrendering. Jesus Himself showed us when He was pleading with God in the Garden of Gethsemane, how agonizing it can be to lay down your own will and accept God’s will instead.

Surrendering to the Father’s call to the cross was likely the very hardest thing that Jesus was required to do. Laying down His life and saying yes to God caused Him to feel “deeply distressed and troubled” and his soul was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Mark 14:33-34). This agony was not just about dying. Jesus knew that saying yes to God meant surrendering control over the present moment and the outcome—as well as His body, His voice, His ministry, His disciples, and His life.

According to Mark 14:36 (NIV), Jesus called to “Abba, Father” because God was the only One who could help Him. He professed his faith and trust when He said, “Everything is possible for You.” He still asked for an alternate path when He whispered, “Take this cup from me.” And finally He surrendered with these words: “Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Knowing how difficult this was for Jesus gives us two helpful insights. The first insight is that He understands how hard surrender is to do. Jesus knows that surrender can feel like suffering, and even He wanted to suffer less. He knows it will take a lot of practice for us to learn to let God choose the cup that we drink from, surrendering all other alternatives as He did.

The second insight is that if true surrender pushed Jesus to His limit, how much more will it push us beyond our limits? I am here to testify that we absolutely cannot do it in our own power. We need Jesus to hold our hand and provide the willingness, determination, and power to lay down control of our lives and our will.

Beloved, Jesus sees how hard it is for you to let go. He knows the fear and grief that accompany surrender. He understands your questions and concerns. Share them! Invite Him into your wrestling and then ask Him to help you say, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

Let’s Pray:
Lord, I confess to wanting my own way so much of the time. Open my eyes to see the daily situations that allow me to practice yielding control. Jesus, show me the way of surrender. Teach me to trust in the Father as You did when You were here on Earth. Have Your way in me. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “I Surrender All” by CeCe Winans. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Jamie De Silvia is an author and speaker from Southern California with a passion for helping women connect with the heart of God. She hosts the “Pressing In” podcast.

She has authored two devotional books: Come Hear the Song of the Shepherd (a 30-day devotional journey through Psalm 23), and You Shall Be Praised (a 40-day devotional offering a fresh perspective on Proverbs 31).

You can find her on Instagram and Facebook daily, offering encouragement to help you draw closer to Jesus Christ.

Jamie is married with two adult daughters and a teenage son. She is also a homeschooling mom who enjoys oil painting, playing games with her family, and savoring a good chai latte.

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