A few years ago I had to take one of those personality and aptitude tests for a class that I was in. When the results came in, my answers reflected that I’m a problem solver. No surprise there. I’ve always been the “if something is broken, fix it” type of person, but lately that trait hasn’t been such a good thing. In fact, it has been a source of seemingly endless frustration, because what happens when I’m faced with a problem I can’t fix? And it seems like there has been an awful lot of those lately.
From family circumstances to my health to certain aspects of ministry, I’ve been facing so many problems with solutions that I cannot implement or organize or even come up with on my own.
So I’m left in a place I don’t like—pushed up against the wall with no obvious source of escape. It is in this place I am faced with a choice: do I keep fighting on my own or finally surrender it to the only One who holds all solutions?
As much as I’d like to say that I surrender, that often isn’t the case. I push and climb and search out every avenue; then when there is nothing left and I am completely exhausted, I take my first look up. It’s in looking up that I find a sovereign God who looks past my stubbornness and sees His broken child. It’s also there that I can finally lift up my hands and let go. Let go of unfulfilled expectations. Let go of broken relationships. Let go of my sickness and my sin. Let go of myself.
As my grip is slowly loosened, the weight that I have been carrying is taken away and I can begin to relax as I watch God work. Sometimes this is a fast process, but often it is extremely slow and requires a lot of stepping back and re-surrendering over and over again. The process also requires us to have a different focus in our vision because sometimes God’s solutions are hard to see because they look so different from our own.
Jim Elliot once said: “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.” Surrender is our way of leaving the choice with God, and He honors our surrender with His solutions. Like an artist painting a masterpiece, He sees the whole picture before He even touches the canvas. One day, we too will see the whole picture. The paint may be blotched in the areas we refused to let go of, but our God can make beauty out of everything—including our mess.
So today I’m standing with my empty hands stretched toward heaven. Tomorrow I may try to fill them again, but through this struggle of surrender, God is faithful and patient with this child of His. He is also willing to accept any problem. All we have to do is admit that we don’t know the solution and finally let go.