Within the Christian world, the idea of surrender has a peculiar twist distinguishing it from its more common definition. When the word “surrender” is used there is usually the idea of conflict between two opposing factions. In the end, one of those groups recognizes their demise and chooses to cease fighting and turn themselves over to their opponents. The central concept is that conflict brings about the surrender.
Within the Christian worldview, surrender is not brought about by conflict (although this is not an entirely improbable possibility). For the Christian, surrender is initiated when the beauty and majesty of God leaves no doubt within their heart and mind that to be ruled by God is better than to rule oneself. The mystery here is in seeing that the motivation emanates from God’s character rather than his power.
When I look at Jesus’ example I see a life surrendered to God, not because God would conquer, but rather because he was allowing himself to be conquered, which is preferable. To put it another way, we are talking about the difference between an enemy and a lover. When one soul gives itself to another, love and passion are what are exchanged. This is the image of the marriage chamber. God’s love for us is intimate and passionate. He does not merely want to crush us, he wants us to be wooed and enthralled with his majesty and utter beauty.
It can be uncomfortable for us to think of God in this way, but that is exactly the image we are given in the bible. Jesus has returned to his Father’s house to prepare a place for us. Too often, this “us” is understood in the plural. However, Jesus is described as the bridegroom. He will return for his bride, singular. We who believe have become a part of the one bride who Jesus died to redeem and purify. Therefore, the language of the scriptures is that of lovers and marriage.
As we continue our journey towards Easter morning remember that God’s love for you is not academic. It is real, personal and unquenchable. Jesus loves us and he is not indifferent to our circumstances. Why would we not want to give ourselves to him.