True Surrender

By Marc Massery

Are you surrendering to God in the right way?

Surrendering to God doesn’t mean that we pretend everything is OK. To surrender means to give up after a battle. Some of us, though, try to avoid the battle altogether. 

Saint Faustina often spiritually wrestled with God. She wrote:

My soul has often cried out after God, as a little child who cries as loudly as he can when his mother covers her face and he cannot recognize her. (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 116)

When St. Faustina was upset with God or deeply desired something, she told the Lord about it. If you read through the Psalms, you'll discover that many of the psalmists prayed in the same way. They cried out to God when they felt abandoned, and they rejoiced with the Lord when they were filled with gratitude. 

One of those psalmists was King David. When David and Bathsheba’s child suffered a serious illness at birth, David spent seven days ceaselessly fasting and praying that the child might live. After seven days, his infant child died. Though David’s servants were afraid to tell him, upon receiving the news David surprised everyone by immediately washing up and going about his business. 

His servants asked him, “What is this you are doing? While the child was living, you fasted and wept and kept vigil; now that the child is dead, you rise and take food” (2 Sam 12:22).  

He replied, “While the child was living, I fasted and wept, thinking, ‘Who knows? The Lord may grant me the child’s life.’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Sam 12:23-24).

As long as David believed there was a chance, he prayed to the Lord for his child to live. But as soon as David realized the Lord had denied his request, he went about his business. Why? Because though David had hoped the Lord would grant his request, he was also surrendered to the Lord’s will. 

Sometimes, the Lord will answer our prayers exactly as we ask. Other times, He says “no” to our requests. Whatever happens, God wants us to tell Him our unfiltered thoughts and prayers. When we express what we truly desire and feel toward the Lord, we act toward him as a little child might act toward his father. This is the kind of relationship the Lord encourages us to have with Him. So, if you’re mad at God, tell Him everything. He can handle it. If you want something badly, pour out your soul to Him. God doesn’t want us to pretend everything’s OK — He wants us to pour out our hearts to Him. Only after we give everything to God like this can we truly surrender. 

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Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

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If you’re living the Gospel, chances are some of your greatest adversaries will be close friends and family, likely even fellow Christians. 

Take St. Faustina, for example. Her family was so against her vocation that she had to run away to the convent in order to fulfill God’s will. Later, she suffered much at the hands of fellow religious sisters. She wrote: 

If you want to do the bare minimum that Catholics are called to, you need to do some form of penance on Fridays.