I shared with you how God was telling me to, "Stop struggling and surrender," in my storms. I want to expand on that & dig into it a little more.
Let me explain how I understand the instruction to "stop struggling." My struggle is that I want to navigate. I want to control. I want to fix. I want to steer and direct. I see a storm brewing and I think, "OK, I have to fix this. Just let me get in here & mess with this & fiddle with that & correct this & push this & pull that." Wrong. I only end up getting myself in a bigger mess than I was in the first place. Now, not only am I like a boat in a storm, but I've got the sail wrapped around my head, the ropes wrapped around my feet, and I'm taking on water. I can feel myself sinking & the temptation is to just work harder & keep trying to "fix it." No. God is saying, "STOP." Stop trying to fix things, stop trying to manage & direct, stop thinking things will change if you only do or say the right thing. Stop struggling and surrender.
I also struggle with trying to figure out my storm. I wonder to myself, "When will this storm be over? Will I even make it through this storm? What will things look like on the other side of this storm, if we make it?" This is me, wrestling with my storm. God is telling me: Stop struggling and surrender.
Surrender does not mean we just throw up our hands and say, "I give up! Whatever happens happens!" That is being defeated. We are not defeated, in fact we are overcomers through Christ! We share in his victory! Surrender means that we take all of our cares, all of our burdens, all of our hopes, dreams, and desires, and we are making an exchange. We give God everything, and in exchange he gives us his peace, his comfort, his power, his grace, his strength, his wisdom, his patience. It's an amazing deal.
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
So what do we do in our storm, if we are not going to just give up? We pray. While we are trusting God with our storm we wage war in the spiritual realm, to affect the outcome, but we trust God with the outcome. Do you see the difference? We are not trying to "fix" the storm, the storm is out of our control. But we use the tools which God has given us.
We read in Ephesians 6:10-13 & 18-20:
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand...
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."
The storm is not our enemy. The people around us who may be involved in the storm are not our enemies. The devil is our adversary and that is who we are called to fight against.
The tools God has given us to use in our storm are very clear in that same chapter, verses 14-17:
"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
We pray. We praise God for who he is and for the answers to our prayers, which he will bring. We stand on God's word and his promises. We maintain our faith in who God is and what he will do. We live with righteousness and and an awareness of the gospel and our salvation.
Surrender definitely does not mean that we don't do anything. In fact, our surrender is very active. We just have to focus our actions in the right way and allow God to handle our storms in his way.
God bless you and strengthen you through whatever storms you may face,