Surrender to the Unknown

Photo by Nick Belt

“If someone surrenders himself entirely to God resolving to do
anything for Him, the Lord will protect that person from deception.”

-Brother Lawrence

What if we took steps in life with the heart of a child? with no future
steps laid out except the one in front of us. Kind of like a child who
leaps into the back seat of his family car. He, at times, does not know where
he is going but he doesn’t worry because he knows that mom or dad is driving. That is enough to convince him to make an act of trust. What if we look at what Jesus has done or allowed to happen in our lives? We can come to recognize His guiding hand, we can begin to know and love the driver and we too can make an act of trust. At times it feels as if we are at the edge looking out into the abyss of the unknown trying to convince ourselves to jump, not knowing where we will land.

The Lenten season is a very appropriate time to practice not only acts of trust but willful acts of surrender.

A time always comes when we are caught amid living, astonished at how we got where we are and wondering where we are going next. Personal reflection during moments like these usually begin with a plan. There is a plan, an A, B, C type of plan and it usually includes details of what steps to take first and what backup plan to implement in case the first steps backfire. This reaction to life is lead by our intellect and if our intellect alone is heading our implementations we know that we are off to a bad start. 

Planning is not all wrong, it is a part of our participation with the plan
of God for our lives. He does not discourage our efforts, but he does ask us to look at the root of our motivation for planning. What is the engine that powers our motivation for making life choices? Is our mind or our heart the engine? Do we reason our way through life or do we will our way through life? And what role do we give prayer in all of this?

“Whether you eat or drink or speak or converse with a person in the world, or whatever else you do, be ever desiring God and having your heart affectioned to Him, for this is a thing most necessary for interior solitude, which demands that the soul have no thought that is not directed toward God” (St. John of the Cross)

Surrender begins with the exercise of doing God’s will in our daily duties. We exercise surrender of the will daily so that when the time comes to bend to something big in life our will is strong enough to let go of all it was holding on to. Similar to those who exercise their body so that when the time comes to perform, they are not stiff and weak but agile and strong.

Have you ever tried the “trust fall” when you are near a friend or
loved one? you simply fall in their direction without warning? the idea is that you grow in trust when they react quick enough to catch you. These trust falls are necessary in the spiritual life, they are the choices we make in prayer, the choices we make during times of inspiration, they are the life choices we make with a spiritual guide or with blind faith. If they are made in complete surrender to God and are in union with His will, we cannot be deceived, we are not left wondering if we took a step in the right direction.

If our choices are rooted in our desire for God, they will be done with an intention to glorify Him. If we want to make a change in life but we are afraid because it would significantly change everything we’ve known and lived for, we simply must discern the root of the change, what prompted it? what goal do we hope to achieve by it? is it a pure desire? is it from God? Even if it is not clear where it will lead or if it will even work, as long as we trust God with the initial step, “step A” without creating a B, and a C for ourselves, God will bless it and once we take it, he will ask us to take another step and another. Not B, or C steps, but new A steps and each of them requiring a leap of faith into the unknown.


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