Jesus, lead me when I wander

Keep me ever close to You

As I give to You, Complete Surrender,

May my heart be true”

These words are the chorus of ‘Complete Surrender’, one of my songs. There are friends that say it is their favorite. I felt pretty good about surrender when I wrote it. It took a women’s Bible study to make me realize I need to look at surrender in an entirely different way.

The thought of surrender brings to my mind old pictures and movies of bedraggled and raggedy war prisoners. The crippled leaning on makeshift crutches, with heads, limbs and bodies all covered in rags fashioned as bandages. They are struggling to walk down the path of worn wagon wheels on the way to whatever prison in which they will be forced to live out their lives. Their eyes are empty, tired and look nowhere but down; each step a struggle. Or maybe it is closer to the battlefield and someone is waving a white flag – ‘I surrender, I surrender’. Something removed from me; something in which I did not have to participate. But here is what it really is…

Surrender happens in front of a big old suitcase.

My Dad had old Samsonite luggage which we used on our family vacations as I was growing up. It was brown with hard sides and gold closures that clicked into place. On the inside were silky pockets that provided storage spots for all the special necessities of traveling and elasticized straps to keep all the clothes from shifting. It is that big, old, brown suitcase that carries what I need to find Surrender for my life. I carry it fully packed with me all the time. Instead of bathing suits and flip-flops, I carry all those things I just don’t/can’t give to God so I can get on with my life.

What would happen if, on a daily basis, I set that suitcase up on a stand just like in a motel room? And I open it. I will walk slowly up to it hand in hand with Jesus, standing there to check it out today. All my sins and weaknesses – anything that I just want to cling to - are piled high in there. And they are not folded neatly so they don’t get wrinkled. They aren’t held in place with those elastic straps. Some days it is so full that I think I couldn’t close that sucker if I wanted to. But I have taken the steps with Jesus to stand there – and to open it up for His viewing. I must ask Jesus which item I need to give Him today. What do I want to pull out of the muck of my life that can be so plainly seen in that suitcase?

I usually find pride oozing all over everything; it forms a pond in which everything else floats. Pride, not of a job well done, but pride-fulness that borders on superiority. A pride that says to God, I don’t need Your help with anything in here – move along.

The first time I handed that pride over to Jesus, as He walked away from that suitcase I discovered that God does have a sense of humor. He took my pride, and then put me in a situation where I had to ask someone else for help. He showed me something that I could not handle on my own. He also made me realize that I was asking for help because it was His way of teaching me that pride is not something I needed to hold onto at all costs. It was easier to accomplish what I needed to when I asked for help.

Surrender isn’t giving in, giving up, or admitting weaknesses that can’t be overcome. It isn’t giving away all power. It isn’t defeat. It acknowledges that standing alone isn’t the best way, and my knowledge isn’t always sufficient. It is relinquishing a power that was never mine to have. It is joining hands with Him in front of that suitcase and walking away into the day knowing I have God’s love and power, not mine, to face whatever I will find on my journey for that day.


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