The more we realize how much God loves us, the easier surrendering becomes. Trials in life should not surprise us, nor cause us to doubt God’s faithfulness.

Overcoming Suffering & Surrendering to God: Part 2

Psalm 121:1-2, Psalm 46:1-7, Psalm 61:1-5, Matthew 11: 28-30 & Proverbs 3: 5-6

 

Surrendering to God

In the last several years, I personally have been challenged with multiple unexpected situations that have created suffering in my life that has come close to immobilizing me including: the loss of a job, the death of both of my parents within a few months of one another, the loss of an infant grandchild, the death of both of my in laws, my own 2 major emergency surgeries, prolonged hospitalization in the last year, a prolonged illness & ultimate death of my younger sister & the very sudden unexpected death of my older sister just three weeks ago. I think understandably, I have felt significantly overwhelmed during these days. However, as painful as this has all been I do know & believe that though feeling overwhelmed in seasons of suffering, in particular seasons that pile upon one another is understandable there are always ways to manage the pain & to heal & in God’s time to return to the beauty that life gives.

We are presented with a blank slate at the start of each new day. How we live into that day is up to us. Our earthly life, day-by-day, is defined not so much by what we encounter during our days but rather by the choices we make as to how we manage the various ups & downs we encounter each day. The Bible tells us that God promises to walk with us through all our days. He is our shepherd & promises to love us unconditionally, forgive us, & guide us. There are over 8,000 promises of God recorded in the Bible, including: to walk with us, uphold us, help us, strengthen us, heal us, protect us, comfort us, bring us good out of suffering, etc. Additionally, He promises believers eternal life, salvation & strength & empowers us with the gift of the Holy Spirit. As written in Psalm 46:1-7; “God is our refuge & our strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea, though the waters roar & foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved, God will help it when the morning dawns.” It is He alone who can help us & bring us peace & healing when we are overwhelmed by suffering.

The story of the prophet Elijah found in the Old Testament in 1 Kings 18:20-40, is a story of his humanity, & the overwhelming doubt & suffering he experienced in his faith journey. The story eventually shows us & models for us how Elijah ultimately heard God with him & surrendered himself totally to God, trusting in God’s promise & was completely healed of his suffering. It is a story written & recorded to guide us in our own faith journey of beauty & suffering. Trust is an essential ingredient to surrender. Regardless of how overwhelmed & helpless we may be feeling & suffering in seasons of pain & how many times we are told that when we turn to God & surrender ourselves to His promise of wholeness we will be healed, it is unlikely we will surrender to Him unless we trust Him. We can’t trust God unless we know Him. Fear keeps us from surrendering, but as we read in the bible; “love cast out all fear”. The more we realize how much God loves us, the easier surrendering becomes. Trials in life should not surprise us, nor cause us to doubt God’s faithfulness. Our trials keep us trusting; they burn away any of our self-confidence & drive us to our Savior. We become stronger only when we become weaker. Learning to stop & be still waiting on the Lord, is absolutely necessary before we can listen & respond fully & gracefully to life that God sets before us. When we trust God & engage in a sacred pause of silence, we will be able to connect with God & surrender our will to God as we listen for God’s still small voice, hearing Him calling us as Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew 11:28; “Come to me, all you that are weary & are carrying heavy burdens & I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, & learn from me, for I am gentle, & humble in heart, & you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, & my burden is light.”

Prayer

I invite you to join in prayer for healing:

“Speak to me in my silence Oh God. When the loud outer noises of my surroundings & the loud inner voices of my fears keep pulling me away from you, help me to trust that you are still there even when I am unable to hear you. Give me ears to listen to your small soft voice, to trust you & to surrender myself fully to your love & caring, guiding me to whole healing. AMEN”

 

~Posted by Rev Kathryn Bindig, MDiv. MS; Pastoral Care Minister with assistance from Rich Muscatello; Director of Business Development & Strategy

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