Tonight I meet for the second time with the ladies in our church's weekly Wednesday night Bible study. Last week, we kicked off our study of the book "Surrender: The Heart God Controls" and our conversation was glorious. When I found this study last Fall to add to our lineup of classes for 2009, I knew by just glimpsing at it, my world would be rocked. One of those convicting lessons we all need to hear, but don't want to take the pop between the eyes to listen.
Surrender is defined as "To give up one's self into the power of another." For a control freak, Type A, planner like myself, God sometimes has to pry my fingers off of things to surrender. If I hold that tightly to those things and withhold His Power to lead, am I really walking in complete obedience? Um, that's a negative. If I call Him "Master," then that is how I need to respond to Him, surrendering my entire life to His Hands.
The book's introduction told the story of Japanese Lt. Hiroo Onoda who, in 1944, was sent to a remote island in the Phillipines to conduct guerrilla warfare for World War II. He was never told the war ended so for 29 years he continued to live in the jungle, ready to go back into battle at a moment's notice. Even after hearing the war may have ended, he never heard it from his Commander's mouth, so he pressed on, unwilling to surrender. Finally in 1974, a college dropout, Norio Suzuki, went searching on Lubang Island convinced Onoda was still alive....and found him. Lt. Onoda, like a true soldier, still wouldn't believe the war was over without getting official word from his commander. So Suzuki traveled to Japan to find his commander, Major Taniguchi. Taniguchi went back with Suzuki and read the orders to Onoda. And he surrendered. After 29 years wasted, 30 lives lost at Onoda's hand on the island, and 100 others wounded, Onoda realized the damage of not surrendering.
Even Jesus surrendered. In John 19:30, it says "..Jesus said, "It is finished." With that He bowed His head and gave up His spirit." Read that again..."He bowed His head"....He didn't "slump over" and just die. In Jesus' final moment, the moment where He took on all our sins forevermore, He didn't just die...He surrendered and bowed His head. The ultimate surrender.
After formally surrendering to Philippine President, Ferdinand Marcos, Marcos pardoned Onoda for all the crimes he committed while in hiding. His 30 years of non-surrender was wiped away in one pardon. Just like our lives of non-surrender are washed away by the blood of Christ. If we just are willing to let Him have complete control. This should be a painfully glorious summer as we walk the journey to surrender.