My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have. 2 Kings 20:4
There are days when the white flag of surrender feels like resigned failure. Then there are moments when raising the banner of white reigns in the Hallelujah chorus. And there are days when the surrender is reminiscent of hope’s true purpose; the glory of a life lived purposed to serve others.
Today I was feeling a bit too much like the first description. I let the avalanche of days catch up and bear strong on my shoulders. I have been trying to do way too much and getting nothing completed but running and wearing myself down.
Do you ever have those days? Days where you run, run, run and have nothing to show for it?
I can log miles on the treadmill, or laps outside, yet this running produces something productive. I feel better for the effort. The endless monotony of lists, agendas, appointments and even errands can drain me, however, and I feel like I have competed in a marathon but I didn’t get a medal. It amazes me how quickly things can become chaotic when the busyness of life sets in.
All too often we do this, letting life pile up outside our doors. We need to remember that no matter where we are in this daily journey to grace-like living, this pile that accumulates needs to be put carefully in its proper place… at the foot of the Cross.
Well, I sort of lost it today when the reality that I was the only one who was trying to keep track of the piles and finding their proper places came a’ tumbling down. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, I am pretty sure pathetic would be the proper word to use here. Yet, there was a lesson to be learned, one I have been wrestling with for the last few days. God taught me in the midst of the tantrum about the beauty of grace and the glory of surrender, and how they work so closely together.
The act of my willful surrender does not force me to give up my rights, as if all I have or all I am is nothing. It is the awareness that all I am belongs to the Lord. That as my Lord, He is also Lord over all I have. It is His grace that gives me the courage to step close to the point of absolute surrender. In that moment when I give up the little I truly have, He gives me claim to the abundance that is always His.
Where the Table of Grace resides Christ is seen.
You see, I have this table sitting in the middle of my 100-yr-old farm house. While I am grateful for my home, it is certainly lived in. It is plain, but it is homey. The beauty of our house is not in the things or the decadence but, instead, in its location and the fact that we are raising our family here. That is what makes it home.
My dining room table is one of my favorite places to sit and rest in our home. It is special because it reminds me of God’s faithfulness and generosity. It has captured many memories, held countless meals, supported hands, and even soaked in tears. We’ve penned essays, counted columns, and sketched dreams at this table. I am sure there are even indentations in the surface to remind us of careless moments a stray pen missed its target.
I waited quite a while to get this table. Almost a year from the time my eyes skimmed along the showroom floor. It is a farm table, rough and dented to make the observer consider the story behind the groves that run along the wood. I forget that sometimes, as I strive to keep it ‘new’. My husband gently reminds me that we chose this table so that when life happens it will only add more character to its surface. Feeding our family and our friends, making a safe strong support to hold the memories around, and a sturdy place to gather and sit. It is meant to gather the marks that tell of the living it has witnessed.
I noticed, even yesterday, the rounding of the corners from repeated brushing of hands. No longer was the corner sharp, but the erosion of touch has worn down the pointed ends, leaving behind a shiny smooth surface that only comes with age and wear.
Then today I noticed a cup of water.
Someone had placed a cup of water on the table, next to an important file of papers, yesterday. (A pile that wasn’t put in its proper place.) The cup looked harmless, but… in my mind I knew there was something wrong. I am sure you can guess where I am going… water, paper and wood don’t always play well together.
Lifting the cup to begin putting piles where they belonged, I noticed the puddle of water resting underneath. I followed the beads of water, which had soaked into the file and the papers inside, and into the wood surface surrounding them. A sickening weight settled in my stomach because I knew, that I knew, that the damage had already been done. You can’t fix water stains very easily.
Setting the documents and the folder out to dry, diligently wiping the table dry I began to see the warped boards emerge from the watermark left behind. I couldn’t stop the tear that formed. Yes, I admit it..I cried. I know it seems silly to cry over something like this, but it was the culmination of the many ‘things’ which led up to this moment influencing my reaction vs my response.
Remember when I said it was pathetic? Well, I found myself quickly heading to the one place that no one could bother me… the bathroom. It has a door and a lock and for a homeschooling momma this is like armored steel.
White Flags = Surrender = Tables of Grace= Hope
Here in the safety of my quiet place I began to see that He was teaching me of surrender, of white flags, and grace tables. Reminding me yet again of the value I tend to place on things, rather than the lessons they hold. This table, as much as I love it, can’t replace the memories that were made around it. Grace reveals the simple truth of sacrificial living.
In the midst of the moment, I realized that the stain on the table is a visual reminder of my need to waive the white flag of surrender. I need to release everything to the One who holds my days in His hand, not just pieces; He wants it all. Surrender is a tender place in the heart of God. It is an imitation of a moment in a garden where blood poured out in sweat beads and the will of the Chosen was bent to the purpose of the Father. When Christ surrendered all, bearing the weight of my sin on his body, He didn’t just wave the white flag as if in failure. No! Thank Goodness! This was not an act of giving up, but of pushing on and giving into the perfect will of the Father. Surrender is more than just a releasing of my rights, it is an acceptance of what He has given us.
“God comes and offers to work this absolute surrender in you. All these searching and hungering and longings that are in your heart, I tell you they are the drawings of the divine magnet, Christ Jesus. He lived a life of absolute surrender….He comes and draws you now by His message and words … God not only claims it and works it, but God accepts it when we bring it to Him.” ~ Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender.
Christ surrendered all for you and I to be able to come to the Father and live. On a piece of wood, blood and water spilled, leaving an undeniable mark upon the world. This mark speaks softly in the heart of each sinner who seeks to surrender their lives in exchange for an eternal living. The tears that fell as He forgave remind me that surrender bleeds beauty, sings Hallelujah, and provides a way for glory to reign.
I have been wrestling with this heart of surrender lately, but I didn’t realize just how deep it lay. My need to hold on to what I could control interfered with His work of grace in me. It took the combination of water and wood to point it out.
Surrender leads us right up to this bold grace thing that we can wear on our hearts. It is real, it is tangible, it is defining. Just like the wood of my table can be felt and the watermark it bears can be seen, so can I reveal a bit of hope and glory as I serve others upon its surface. Now I can tell the story of another piece of wood filled with nails, sharing the hope of redemption; just because the water left an imprint on my table.
Grace gives us a glimpse of heaven’s hospitality as we look through its lens. It shows us how to take moments of surrender and place them willfully into the sovereign hands of the Father.
I have been telling you about this Table of Grace, praying for the words and the opportunity to invite you in to share its bounty. A part of me sees the power of this story as an introduction and a challenge to be grace-givers, earnest and intent in your dwelling to reveal lives fully surrendered.
As I look at the mark in my table, I can say that this will forever be a place where grace resides, where hearts are embraced, where love overcomes, and lives are eternally changed because of hope and the beauty of a life surrendered.
Where are you at in this journey of releasing it all to God? Will you walk with me friend as I travel towards grace? Will you come to the Table of Grace with me and jump in on this bold grace thing? Will you share your triumphs and your stumbles together?
I am going to talk more about the Table of Grace as the days pass by. I look forward to sharing this heart-truth that we all need to hold on to, because there is always room for grace at the table. There will always be a place where we are welcomed and we are showered with the grace that flows through the power of surrender.
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