The Heartbeat of Intimacy: Surrender
Last week I shared a personal note about my first date with my wife. Most people are encouraged when they hear the whole story about how God brought us together and answered our prayers in very specific ways. Others doubt or question how we knew He was the One guiding us in our decision.
One of the greatest things about growing in intimacy with God is how it prepares you to be intimate with another human being. Prayer is his ‘greenhouse’ that provides the best environment for us to grow. The more you sit in His presence, the better He prepares ‘the soil’ of your heart and mind to receive of Him. And, this is the key! You find yourself desiring Him more than the answer to your earthly petitions.
I’m still growing in this area. I have to resist some of my task-oriented tendencies, and just sit with Him for the purpose of being loved and loving him back. This practice trains us in the school of surrender.
What many people didn’t know, who doubted or questioned us in our decision to get married quickly after we met, is how Christiane had been a ‘trainee’ in this school of surrender for most of her life. She has a sentence she’s repeated for almost 30 years now. Through highs and lows, and everything in between, she’s meditated, prayed and most importantly desired to be shaped and formed by the reality of this phrase:
“I choose you, Jesus.”
This is the heartbeat of intimacy. A heart that’s ready to surrender. Our deepest desires, doubts, or fears get enveloped by the reality of His presence. When we are with Him, we know that we are not alone, and He will lead us every step of the way.
We learn this from Jesus as he prays in Gethsemane:
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39 (ESV)
Jesus knew he was going to endure a horrible death. He also knew what was being accomplished through his death, resurrection, and ascension. Yet, he asks: ‘Is there any other way we can do this, Father?’
There is no shame or fear in asking. Jesus never forgot he was One with the Father. Our Trinitarian God teaches us that there is unity and love in the fellowship of the Trinity, and we are invited into it (see John 17). Fear and shame have no room here. We can ask anything when we are ready to surrender. There is no need to hide, like Adam and Eve tried to do. When we abide in the One who sustains us, we know we are secure. No matter how our prayers are answered, this is always the place we want to be – with Him.
This is the relationship that grounds us. So, when a prayer is answered differently than we desired, or exactly like we asked, we know that He is the One we depend on to walk in one path or the other.
We started talking about prayer a few weeks ago. Although we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface, Christiane and I hope that you can get the picture. Prayer is the beginning of a life well lived in God’s Presence. It is in this fertile ground of God’s ‘greenhouse’ that we learn to be vulnerable and honest, fully engaging our hearts, and becoming so intimate with Him that we are quick to surrender our will.
This is how our Faith grows. This is how we find Peace in the middle of the storm. This is how we express Joy that the world cannot take away.
In some of his “Unspoken Sermons”, George MacDonald writes:
“Thou art a God who hears prayer, and gives a better answer.”
“Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need; prayer is the beginning of that communion.”
“… for the glory of God is to give himself.”
The fact that our God desires to give of himself to us, and invites us to share in His glory is beyond anything we can imagine.
How would you respond to His invitation today? Is there a specific area of your life that’s been difficult to surrender? Have you struggled to acknowledge His presence in your daily life and quiet your heart before Him? Don’t be discouraged if you are just now starting on this journey. Remember: there is no fear or shame. We are all on this journey of growth. Let’s walk together and always “choose Him”. A community that prays together, grows together, and shines His Light brighter.
Blessings and peace,
Rev. Todd and Dr. Christiane Meyer