The skies darkened almost instantly; the last orange rays of the sun disappeared behind gigantic gray clouds. Cold winds and rain forced us […]
The skies darkened almost instantly; the last orange rays of the sun disappeared behind gigantic gray clouds. Cold winds and rain forced us to huddle for warmth. Our little boats rocked as waves gained strength. Trying their best to navigate in the dark, the boatmen headed straight to shore. A group of 20 young travelers, lost in the rhythmic percussion of the waves, were returning after an eventful day.
Just a few weeks earlier, excitement had filled the air as plans were made for a trip to Palawan, one of the bigger islands in the Philippines. Palawan, a paradise of white sand beaches and turquoise waters, was a dream destination for many. It was a great way to escape the stress and work involved in academics. With funding secured, we had set out with prayers and many hopes.
But now, instead of gazing at breathtaking limestone cliffs and snorkeling in jade-colored lagoons, we were up against a typhoon. Typhoon Paolo had stormed in with little warning. While some still hoped for a good time together, a few made alternate plans, and others were just disappointed.
A few Sabbaths later I worshipped with our local GROW ministries group on a hill overlooking Taal Lake. Surrender, the theme of the retreat, caught my attention. A group of young professionals who organize and plan to control almost everything in life had gathered to learn about surrender. As I listened to the experiences of the members I realized why surrender is important and joined them in a journey of surrender.
Somehow, I remembered our trip to Palawan, a trip filled with great experiences and lessons. A trip of surrender. Right from the start we had experienced God’s leading and protection. We had felt His presence—in spite of a flat tire, a three-hour holdup on the road, rainy skies, and stormy waters. We could still see the beauty in the darkening skies, experience peace in the stormy waters, and hope in a single golden ray of sunlight.
The typhoon could have dashed our hopeful dreams, but it could not shake our faith in Him. As we prayed, talked, laughed, and shared our lives with each other, we strengthened one another. Strong bonds and a new support system were created. As I looked back I realized that it’s only in surrender that we see the beauty in the storm. In surrender, we find meaning and purpose in the midst of chaos, and in surrender there is hope, peace, and joy.
We don’t like to surrender. People around us don’t like to surrender. We get caught up in the busyness of life, not realizing that we accomplish nothing by achieving so much. David’s life speaks of surrender. David, the anointed king of Israel, could have easily overthrown Saul. Instead he waited for God’s timing. He believed that God was working for Him and through Him. King David waited on the Lord in silence and surrender. He realized that when we surrender our lives to the Living God, we are at peace with whatever comes our way.
“In Your presence is fullness of joy,” writes the psalmist. “At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).
I surrender to that.
Beersheba Maywald, originally from Tamil Nadu in India, is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Religion with a New Testament focus at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in Silang, Cavite, Philippines.