I Surrender All?

I Surrender All?

At church a few weeks ago I had another “new daddy” experience that broke me in half in a wonderful way.

Before I share that moment, I’d like to set the stage a little.

My Sundays are wonderfully exhausting and invigorating. Our awesome church, Sandals Church, recently launched a satellite campus at a local middle school. What this ultimately means is we have to set up and tear down church every week. There are around 600 people (and growing… praise God!) that show up at this middle school to learn about and/or worship Jesus. Amen! Nonetheless, that’s a lot of chairs and heavy signage (it is definitely a blessing that we have these resources!).

I get to church pretty early to help set up the signs, chairs, kiosks, kids rooms, or whatever else is needed. It’s a blessing. We then have a small service for volunteers so volunteers can partake in worship and teaching (since many serve during the “main” service). After this service, many of us pray, and then we prepare to serve people throughout the day.

It is a pleasure to serve Christ’s church… but it is still a bit physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting sometimes.

That particular week had been extremely busy. I typically get to bed around 2 or 3am (I have trouble sleeping), and 7am comes pretty quickly. I was quite exhausted. I think I even fell asleep during the volunteer service sermon. Additionally, that morning I was in a grumpy mood for whatever reason.

My beautiful wife comes to church for the main service. I truly love seeing her walk toward me, in life, and especially on Sundays pushing the stroller. Since we have a new baby, we sit in the back  in case we need to quickly exit for a moment if the kiddo starts screaming.

I held my precious little boy throughout the opening worship and then throughout the sermon.

The talented worship team then took the stage for closing worship and the congregation stood. Next, they started playing a hymn that was one of my childhood favorites… “I Surrender All”. Of the few songs I remember from my childhood church days… this is one. As I write this, I can even visualize myself standing in the balcony at Mabel White Baptist Church, singing this song while facing the pulpit, watching people walk down the aisles to commit their lives to Jesus.

As they played “I Surrender All”… my heart began melting. I looked down at the sleeping, chubby, beautiful, helpless, and serene child cradled in my arms. I looked at his closed eyes and at the raising-and-falling of his chest… and just lost it.

All to Jesus I surrender;
all to him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust him,
in his presence daily live.

I looked at my wife’s gorgeous and peaceful face as her eyes were closed and her hands were raised in worship to King Jesus… and felt so thankful, honored, and blessed that I have been entrusted to care for, serve, lead, and love her.

My life, testimony, the gospel kinda flashed before my eyes. I picture Abraham being challenged to sacrifice His son. That has never made sense to me, and still doesn’t, but I felt a sliver of what he must have felt.

I surrender all, I surrender all,
all to thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

I imagined losing this baby I am learning and choosing to love… and imagined his future and the man he will hopefully become.

I imagined losing my wife, whom I cherish more than I can express in words… and saw our wrinkly faces as 90 year-olds, smiling at each other as we hold hands in church as we praised God. I prayed that we were able to grow old together…

I also thought about how God’s goodness is somehow still great if I were to lose them.

As I write this now, I am uncontrollably sobbing.

I visualized John 3:16 … and thought about God’s love.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:16-18

I pictured the sovereign, all-powerful God and creator of the Universe as He watched his good, pure, innocent, and divine Son allow himself to be disgraced, mutilated, beaten, spat on, humiliated, stabbed, violently murdered.

I pictured Christ on the cross, crying out… 

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

I pictured Christ defeating death…

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

I questioned and marveled at the mystery of God’s sovereignty and goodness.

All to Jesus I surrender;
humbly at his feet I bow,
worldly pleasures all forsaken;
take me, Jesus, take me now.

I thought about what it means to offer myself as a living sacrifice for God.

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

I felt blessed and challenged in my roles as a husband, father, and minister.

All to Jesus I surrender;
make me, Savior, wholly thine;
fill me with thy love and power;
truly know that thou art mine.

Through my tears, I was singing precious words of total surrender… as I contemplated serving and sacrificing for my family and Christ. I wondered how much I really meant the words that were coming out my mouth. Maybe I actually meant them for a moment… but those moments were fleeting.

I questioned my myopic understanding of what total surrender means.

I thought about what it means to serve well… through joy, occasional inexcusable apathy, and pain…

43 … Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 19:43-45

I was overwhelmed by the meaning and power of Christ’s intentional love and sacrifice…

All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to thee;
fill me with thy love and power;
let thy blessing fall on me.

God, please continue growing me into a man that acts and loves in a manner worthy of the Gospel. Help me love, lead, and serve my family as you desire. Help my heart mirror the truth of the Gospel. 

 

“I Surrender All” by Jadon Lavik… Youtube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaTXNxUXcn4

  1. Jorja Stewart says:

    Beautifully stated, Jonathan!
    May the Lord help us all to daily walk in an attitude of true surrender and worship!
    JS

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