Linda Beck column: I surrender all
here is a hymn in some Christian hymnals entitled “I Surrender All.” The church I now attend uses that song at the end of the service for the altar calls. Some churches do not have altar calls and there are Christians who never go to the altar to pray even when others do. They are either uncomfortable doing so, see no necessity, or choose to keep their feelings personal.
Another issue among Christians and various denominations is the necessity of kneeling to pray. There are some of us who are physically unable to kneel because our health situations will prohibit us from getting back up. Sometimes we are uncomfortable with terminology like “fall on your knees to pray.” Elderly people and some others are unable to kneel because of knee or hip replacements or diseases like multiple sclerosis.
One may be wondering what the “all” in the song has to do with prayer or diet.
Well, of course, where diet is considered we do have to “surrender” our desire for certain foods if we want to lose weight. In 2007 when I decided to lose weight, I had to cut back on the number of sodas I was drinking daily. I started diligently doing my bed and chair exercises every night and morning and ate less of everything, particularly deserts. Well, I certainly didn’t surrender all, but I lost twenty-eight pounds and look and feel much better.
The first line in the song is “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give.” Sometimes Satan tries real hard to keep us from surrendering our bad habits. I remember the worst habit I ever had to give up was smoking cigarettes. I tried to quit numerous times, but never totally gave up the habit until once when God got my attention.
That particular time in 1989 I knew if I didn’t quit smoking, I was going to die an early death. I was having trouble breathing and I knew God expected me to get rid of that habit. Though I could not kneel to pray, I literally fell on my bed and prayed for God to help me stop smoking forever and I did surrender all where smoking was concerned. (Sometimes I wonder now how I could stand the odor and apologize to my family and friends for what they put up with.)
At times, I feel like I have surrendered all of everything I had to give over the years. However, when I examine my heart and find anger or bitterness still present, I know there is “sin” that I haven’t been able to surrender which is much more important than my physical problems.
The deaths of my grandparents, my mother and brother, and then my husband, Joe and others that I loved seemed to be all I could surrender. My health problems took away my freedom to drive, walk, dance, and so many other physical activities.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He told them to forgive as they wanted to be forgiven. In our world today, it is equally important for us to forgive. In Second Corinthians 12:7-10 Paul tell us he had a thorn in his side. Often we wonder what his thorn might have been. Was it an undiagnosed case of fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis or some other disease?
In some Bible studies this has been argued that “the thorn in his side” may have been a poor relationship with a friend or relative. Anger and bitterness from relationships with those we love are probably some of the hardest “sins” to surrender to our Jesus. If someone we love has broken our hearts with ugly words or deeds, these acts are particularly hard to forget, even if we do forgive the deeds.
Being the victim of lies and misrepresentations is another act that is difficult to surrender. My husband used to say that I was so na ve and would believe anything people told me. That is why trust is so important in any relationship. One blessing about our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is that we can always trust Him when we obey his teachings.
On our journey to reach the destination of surrendering all to our Savior, there may be some rough detours. But we have a loving forgiving father who will keep the pathway open allowing us to make mistakes. We will discover that nothing lasts forever.
But in the end, we will learn that “when there is nothing left but God, we will then know that God is all we need.”Linda Beck lives in Woodleaf.