What will happen if I let go, completely and totally?
I surrender all, I surrender all
All to thee, my precious savior
I surrender all
–Judson W. Van de Venter
Over 100 times the Bible contains a phrase such as “Fear Not” or “Do not be afraid.” It seems like every time an angel shows up on the scene, these are the first words from its mouth.
It’s hard to live at peace when fear is part of the equation. And I’ve carried so many fears throughout my life. Fear of rejection. Fear of never measuring up. Fear of failure, of success, of poverty, of riches. I have yet to discover the upper limit of my mind’s ability to to conjure up fear.
And a strong temptation exists to surrender all, to the fear.
My mind begins to ruminate and churn on everything that could possibly go wrong. I begin to perceive things as completely out of control. Or that I can contain them if I hold tightly to the reins in my own strength.
I find myself in the boat, on the sea, at 3 AM. The darkness has swallowed up any smidgen of light, and the unseen waves crash like the cymbals of an ominous orchestra. A sense that I’m not where I’m supposed to be overwhelms me. A creeping sensation that demons await me in the depths below begins to crawl up the back of my neck. The fear calls out to my heart, envelops it, presses in on it.
So I row harder, I bail out water faster, I scream in anguish and put in all the might I can muster to overcome the storm and my relentless fear of it. But this is not true surrender, and fear does not subside.
So I give up rowing, and cave to despair. I resign myself to fate, and prepare for the worst. And still, this is not true surrender, and fear does not subside.
And there in the back of the boat, someone sleeps soundly. How can he sleep through this? Doesn’t he know that I’m struggling here? That my drowning and capsizing are imminent? Doesn’t he see the wind and the waves and know that they are more powerful than me?
Instead of shaking him awake and calling out to him for help, I choose to be angry with him. “If he really cared, he would wake up. Or he never would have slept in the first place. He’s left me alone to deal with my fears.”
But I’m not alone, and in reality, I have nothing to fear. I finally decide to shout and wake up the sleeping man in the back of the boat. He stirs, surveys the surroundings, and calls out to the the wind and the waves, “Be still!” And beyond all earthly hope, they obey his voice. All those forces that made me anxious and fearful have been tamed by a simple, spoken word.
I want to surrender my fears to the one who casts out all fears. I want to trust him with the things that overwhelm me. With the things I know I can’t control. And even with the things I think I can.
Fear, you have no place in my life. I have found the perfect love that casts out all fear. And I surrender all to him.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV)
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