What would be the most difficult thing for you to give up for the rest of your life?
Surrender is rarely seen as something positive. It means accepting that the battle has been won not on your terms, and you are willingly giving your life over to the authority of the winning side. It means taking a humble position and embracing what is over what we want. Surrender is an act of faith, keeping hope alive by choosing defeat over death. It is the first act for those coming to salvation, and a continual habit of those walking with Christ.
To surrender to Christ is a decisive blow to our flesh. “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live...” (Galatians 2:20). But that’s not the end of the verse. This surrender gives way to new hope and new life: “...but Christ living in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.” Along with the old self, the power of sin is broken, “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be in bondage to sin” (Romans 6:6). We surrender not as defeated heroes, but as refugees, escaping a life of slavery, starvation, and abuse. We surrender not for fear or threat, but in hope that the One to whom we surrender has a better life for us.
The returning prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, who gives up on his way of life and runs back to the father hoping to be a servant, is a picture of our surrender to God. His surrender is met with rewards beyond his expectations. He is received with open arms, lavish love, and a new life as a restored son. We too can bring our children to surrender not with crushing blows, but by convincing them that we will receive them with open arms and lavish love.
Parenting requires a great deal of surrender — from surrendering to the discomforts and changes of pregnancy, to giving up our schedules, to giving our children independence to be unique. To surrender also means giving up our parenting fears, which assume the worst and make us over-protective. It stifles growth and produces fear and frustration in a child. We are to protect them, not to serve our own anxieties, but to serve a God who will hold us accountable for the care we give.