Can you imagine the last hymn you sing in church is I Surrender All?
All to Jesus I surrender; Humbly at His feet I bow.
Worldly pleasures all forsaken; Take me, Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus I surrender; Lord, I give myself to Thee.
Fill me with Thy love and power; Let Thy blessing fall on me.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior – I surrender all.
Can you imagine this being put to the test in the next – and last – thirty days of your life?
How much are you willing to surrender to God? Just a little? Maybe quite a bit, at least for a time. Maybe it’s only in one area. Perhaps the area which requires the least amount of change, commitment, sacrifice or submission. How about your life? And I don’t mean the span of your existence, but your existence itself.
What if God’s will for your life was to die for His sake? Are you willing to surrender all to Him?
A year ago yesterday was the last time my dad climbed into his jeep and headed off to church. It was the last time he led a service, taught a lesson in Family Bible Hour and his last time to corporately worship His Savior. And I Surrender All was the last song he sang that morning.
The lesson he taught that Sunday (which I was told was powerful despite him being so sick) was on grace. Thankfully God does not administer grace according to our willingness to serve and surrender to Him. Otherwise we’d rarely receive grace! But grace, by its very definition, is receiving that which we don’t deserve.
I allow my mind to travel back to where it all began.
It was a Monday morning, March 21, 2016, at 7:30am and I called to check on my dad. He had been running a high fever the previous day and, after returning home, slept the rest of the day. During our conversation on the phone, he told me he had fallen in the early hours of that morning. He told me he wasn’t sure what he was doing up; he wasn’t sure why he had fallen, or how. And he told me several times that he had fallen. I had to continue asking, “Dad, are you still there?” to pull his attention back to our conversation. I remember hanging up thinking, that was just odd. But I didn’t mention it to my mom. I knew something wasn’t right, but no one assumes all the sudden a healthy person is dying.
Looking back, I blame myself for not reacting as I should have, alerting my mom of my suspicions. But don’t we have nearly perfect hindsight? It knows exactly what to expect. After all, Hindsight has been there before. But Present is walking this journey for the first time, and the road ahead is uncertain. It’s very easy to follow tragic events with an “if only I had…” We can chastise ourselves for mistakes, faults or what we should or shouldn’t have done, but God works His plan perfectly anyway. God was ultimately calling my dad home so notifying my mom of my suspicions was trivial and futile. I thank the Lord for my dad’s obedience and example, especially in the thirty days that would follow. Only God knew he was surrendering his life.
There is grace for the unknown paths. There is grace for grave situations. There is grace when we want to blame. There’s grace when we sin. There is grace when we fail. There is grace as we fall to our knees. There is grace when we’re sick. There is grace when we seem fine. There is grace in our sorrows. There is grace in our joys.
And there is grace in our surrendering it all.
Grace is readily available in all situations. Always. We do not exhaust it for the day. Because grace comes not from within ourselves or our actions or contributions, but from our everlasting Father who loves us unconditionally and has limitless power and resources, which He offers effortlessly and undeservingly.
Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Thru many dangers, toils and snares I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath bro’t me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me; His Word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.
In the end, all He wants is for us to surrender all to Him, because His grace will lead us home.