Job surrendered to the will of God, even at the loss of his fortune, his family, and then his own health. His hope was in the God whose character He had known to be trustworthy for many years. He knew He could surrender to God’s will and God would prove faithful. Job held on to God even in the hard. His example is a strong one for us as we try to hold on to hope in our own hard.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Surrendering to God’s will begins in our minds, when we make a conscious choice to move from the world’s patterns to take hold of what He has for us instead. As that transformation happens, we are able to know God’s will for our lives. His “good, pleasing and perfect will” becomes clearer as we remove the old ways of thinking and “let this mind be in you which also is in Christ.” (Philippians 2:5) His Spirit makes His will known to us.
Many struggle with the idea of “God’s will.” If we are honest, we may ask questions like, “Was it God’s will for my child to get sick?” “Was it God’s will that she was born with this disability?” “Did He will for my husband to leave us?” This can become a complex theological discussion that would take many pages. For our purposes, though, I think we start by asking the question “Is God sovereign?” Does the Creator reign over all His creation? We can be sure from scripture, from history and from our own experience that He does. We can be sure that all power and glory and honor and praise belong to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Then as Job did, we can surrender to what He allows to come into our lives and trust His will to be best- for His glory and for our good.
The illustration I like best to help understand this is from the song, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” Picture God’s hands held together holding your life inside. As He protects and provides for you, any blessing or trial that comes your way must come through His hands first. What gets through to you has been allowed by Him, even if that be sin’s consequences or Satan’s schemes. And if He allows it through, it is according to His good, pleasing and perfect will.
We can be sure that God’s ultimate purpose is to glorify Himself as Lord of all. We have seen how that happens even in life’s most difficult circumstances. His presence, His power and His peace through our trials all bring honor to Him.
A second purpose we can be sure of is His will to conform His children to the image of Christ. “For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” (Romans 8:29). We can surrender to His sovereign hands allowing tests and trials to come our way to shape us into His image. As a potter pushes and prods his clay to conform to his beautiful plan, so does God push and prod His children to become more like His Son.
Jesus Christ demonstrated total surrender to God’s will through His death on the cross. Knowing the great sacrifice of suffering He was near to enduring, He prayed this profound prayer.
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42
The scripture goes on to tell us that an angel came to Him and “strengthened Him.” Then we learn how difficult that prayer of surrender was for Christ to pray:
And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Luke 22:44
If surrendering to God’s will was that painful for His Son, we can expect to struggle with it as well. He understands the fight to surrender our own will for His. And He will be faithful to be near to help with the letting go. He knows that the letting go is the very best thing for us. He will give us faith to hold on for God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.
Because of Christ’s surrender, we can surrender to God’s will for our lives.