Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21(NLT)
A white surrender flag is usually associated with a struggle between two sides at war, where one has finally recognized the outcome is going to be against them, and they give up rather than lose everything.
The spirit of fighting to the bitter end runs deep in human beings. Winston Churchill’s iconic speech to a graduating class was a simple three-word phrase repeated three times: Never give up; Never give up; Never give up! Then he sat down. While most preachers’ lengthy sermons are forgotten over Sunday’s lunch, that ultra-short speech is still remembered more than a half-century later!
The writer of Hebrews ended his letter with a benedictory prayer that God would produce in the recipients of that letter an ability to surrender; to become resigned to do God’s will entirely; that they would thus please God and bring all glory to him forever and ever! And that’s a huge rub; mostly all the struggle human beings have ever had with God has had to do with not wanting to do God’s will. We abuse free will, preferring to do our own thing. But that is mostly because we misunderstand the nature of God’s will as being prohibitive, rather than beneficial. We think God is trying to rain on our party when, in fact, He’s offering us the best life possible.
This is much like the struggle between parents and children who are coming of age. The struggle of wills is sometimes epic, tragic and so totally unnecessary. Parents (like God) do not wish harm towards their children; they want a fulfilled, happy, and useful life for them. Parents make mistakes in communicating this to the children (none of us are perfect), but often the children interpret the mistakes as meanness.
Sunday afternoon Elizabeth and I had the joy of spending time at a restaurant with our daughter Jen, and her husband Ken. We were celebrating Jen’s birthday, and that always recalls memories of the past years and events. In her childhood we experienced times of laughter, joy, difficulties and testing, as most parents know. In back of it all there was always the strongest hopes and prayers we offered up to God that our daughter would find that place in God’s will that He had waiting for her. In many ways we see evidence that that prayer is being worked out as she serves God with her gifts in music and her willingness to engage in ministry with others. We are so proud of the woman of God, wife, mother, and grandmother she has become.
A white flag of surrender isn’t always because one side has won, and the other is a loser. Surrendering to God’s will means victory for everybody!
With all respect to Mr. Churchill, when it comes to God’s will, always give up; always give up; always give up!