Nothing Less Than ‘Everything’

(Based on Genesis 22:1-12)
Amanda Perera

“Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
Genesis 22:2

Sasha (name changed) had always faced up to the seriousness of surrender. She constantly stretched herself asking those difficult questions: ‘Will I still love the Lord IF He took away those things, people and blessings that are dear to me?’ Then one day, her husband was unusually late to come home. His phone was not contactable for a long time. All kinds of possibilities ran through her mind as she imagined the worst that could happen during his drive home. While she prayed, she was also conscious of the need to surrender to God’s plans, no matter what it meant. However in the thick of things, it was much harder to get there. It was then that her 6 year old son decided to pray for dad, in what seemed like heartfelt honesty. His words went, “God please bring dada home safely. But only if it is your will.”

When God asked Abraham to offer Isaac on the alter, it was not a simple surrender at all. If there was ever a night of deepest agony, it may have been that night for Abraham. Christians admire his surrender and understand that God tested his faith and proved it through this unbelievably tough test.

But how often do we realise that we also have to model Abraham’s kind of surrender with regard to everything dear to us? Jesus was not at all ambiguous when He said that we must be willing to give up everything we have, to become His disciples (Luke 14:33).

Sasha’s husband came home safely that day. But that day will always remind her how real our surrender needs to be at all times, with regard to all things!

Do we realize that being a follower of Jesus involves a surrender to His will in all things, and at all times?

Surrender is something we do in our hearts. As Christians, the posture of our heart needs to be one of constant surrender. This is really the practical meaning of calling Jesus ‘my God and my Lord’. If He is in fact God and Lord of my life, then surely He must always have His way in all things- is that not so?

On a practical note, surrender looks like holding everything in life with light fingers, as opposed to tight fingers. We have to be constantly ready to ‘let go’ and ‘lay down’ the circumstances, things, hopes, plans and even people in our lives. No wonder Jesus said the following words to those who would follow Him:

“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:33

Another way of saying it is to say it is an invitation to constantly offer everything back up to God- for Him to do as He wills- for His glory. So we offer back the very blessings He has given us. We offer Him our health, wealth, marriage, relationships, jobs, circumstances… the list goes on. And we understand that sometimes this means He will take it back from us forever- for He does ‘give and take away’ sometimes- when it so glorifies Him to do so, across what it accomplishes in our hearts.

Such full blown surrender requires thinking outside the box of comfortable Christian thinking. The comfortable Christian thinking says, ‘God has given me this job, so He will bless me in it. For it is His will for me to have it.’ While this might be true, we must also consider the possibility that God sometimes gives in order to then take it away- for He gives for a greater purpose than for me to simply have it and be blessed in it. Perhaps He intends to test me in the trial of taking it back and bless a watching world as they witness a child of God trusting the faithfulness of a sovereign God, even when something has been taken away. We cannot explain Job’s experience or even Abraham’s experience as mentioned before. unless we wrap our heads around the fact that God may jolly well ‘give and take away’ sometimes.

Yes, we don’t know what the future holds, but we know WHO holds the future. We know the one to whom we bow down and offer up everything in surrender. We know He lay down His life for us, to give us an inheritance that is truly perfect; that will last forever. So we know He cares for us and we know He is committed to our ultimate good (as much as we know He is almighty and sovereign over every detail).

So can we lay everything down, for Him to do as He wills? Our plans, jobs, income, health and even loved ones…?

True faith is to believe that God’s plans are ultimately faithful and good, no matter what the cost seems like in this world. Whatever He chooses to do, He will do for our good (the good of transforming our hearts- Romans 8:28-29) and for His glory!

May God give us the grace to desire HIS plans and HIS will for HIS glory always! May we say with Jesus, every day of this life, “…nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39b).

*Amanda Arasaratnam (Mandy) lives in Bahrain with her husband Sam and two children. She is a stay-at-home mom. Mandy testifies to a strong calling in recent years to write what God has impressed upon her heart, for the extension of His kingdom.

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