Surrender is not a very popular word. We use it in reference to the humiliation that accompanies defeat. When a nation loses a war, it may be forced to surrender unconditionally, and has no say in the terms of defeat.

Yet there is a type of surrender that is dignified and appropriate. Paul understood it in two aspects. First, it means surrendering our desires and will to the heavenly Father. Jesus is our example, for He did the Father’s will in everything (Jn. 6:38).

The second aspect is our acceptance of God’s supreme sovereignty. This is marked by our realization that things do not always go our way as God works out His will on earth. Our business goes through good times and bad. Our health may suffer. Loved ones will hurt us, or leave us, or even die. Our fondest dreams may never be realized.

In the spiritual sense, to surrender means that we trust God to do what is best. It is, as Paul said, choosing to be content “in whatever state I am” (Phil. 4:11-12), and knowing by faith that God will take care of our needs (v.19). That kind of faith isn’t easy. But it’s the only way to overcome dissatisfaction and anger about uncontrollable circumstances.

Perhaps it’s time to say “I surrender” to the Lord and to His perfect will and plan.