Some weeks ago I finished the book Surrender. It is a 600-page story written by Bono about his own life and the development of the music group, U2. Bono was born in Dublin, Ireland as Paul David Hewson. He has led U2 for over 40 years and he and his band have been proclaimed the best rock band, in the world, filling stadiums around the world with tens of thousands of fans. He has been a part of the halftime show of the Super Bowl, he was part of  President Obama’s inauguration, and he was the motivating power behind the development of the aids vaccination that so impacted the world, especially in third-world countries. In other words, he became a world force of influence. Most of his time and resources today are spent as an activist for political and social issues around the world.

Why would I read a book written by Bono whose music I have never listened to? Who he is was first brought to my attention in the fall issue of Christianity Today, a magazine started by Billy Graham. In the introductory article, they talked about his journey of faith. He was raised in a Protestant church in Dublin and responded to the altar call to receive Christ as Savior and Lord every chance he got. Then, the title of his book caught my attention; Surrender. Bono surrendering? This I had to find out, so I read the book.

I certainly am not endorsing his faith, nor anyone else’s. Listen to what he says; “But for this process of discovery is a continuum of dripping. Miniature moments of revelation and realization. But when I find myself asking deeper questions about existence, mine and those I love, the intimate sense of something “other”, it’s okay. Sometimes “Life” needs to speak to us.”

He goes on to say, “The Bible held me rapt. The words stepped off the page and followed me home. By reading the Bible I found more than poetry and that Gothic Kings James script…I’d always be the first one to the altar during an altar call, come to Jesus moment. I still am. If I was in a café right now and someone said, ‘Stand up if you are ready to give your life to Jesus,’  I’d be the first to my feet. I took Jesus everywhere and I still do.”

Then, there was the title of the book, Surrender. That is one of the most powerful words in our language.
Surrender means I lay down my arm of defense, my will, all that I am, and I allow another to step into my life to control me. I remember those moments in my own life, when I was asked to surrender who I was, and my plans for the future and to become a follower. My goal was to please another.

If we study history, we are well acquainted with surrender. My wife and I stood in the little county courthouse at Appomattox, in Virginia. The Confederate forces realized they could no longer resist the power of the industrial north. General Robert Lee, representing the south arrived at the courthouse dressed in his military dress uniform, with a silver sword hanging from his waist, and his boots freshly polished. He waited for General U.S. Grant, who was still on the battlefield when he heard the news of the proposed surrender and arrived an hour late. He had mud on his boots from a recent rainstorm. His uniform showed the signs of battle. Together, these two powerful men arranged the term of surrender. Stack all the arms of defense in a pile. Deposit all your powder and ball. Keep your Mules and go home to farm the land that had been destroyed.


General MacArthur did the same thing, though in more sterile conditions. After “The Bomb’ was dropped on Japan, these two great leaders met on the deck of the battleship Missouri. Articles of surrender were signed, and Japan surrendered its rights to the allied powers of the world.

As I read through my Bible, I find the act of surrender is necessary for our relationship with God.  Am I correct in saying this happened to Moses? He met God at the bush that burned but was not consumed. Moses had a free life. He is caring for the herds of his father-in-law. There was a bit of a discussion as Moses bowed, with bare feet before this bush. God was placing responsibility on him, and Moses said that he was not in any way qualified for this responsibility.

There was a surrender that took place as Moses only took the “staff” that he used in his old career and began a future with a new partner, Jehovah.

I have attempted to visualize how this act of surrender took place in Saul’s (alias Paul) life. No one ever had a greater defense system set up than this man. He took his life mission so seriously that he imprisoned and murdered people. He could out-argue you as to who Jesus was and believe that he was doing God a favor. He did not understand the word “surrender”, then he met Jesus in such an unusual way. It is humorous to me what his new assignment was under his new Leader. He, who had such disdain for non-Jewish people, was commissioned [not asked] to take Jesus, the very man he thought to be an imposter, to the very people he had such disdain for, the Gentile nations.

Sometimes the act of surrender takes my life in an entirely new direction and at other times, surrender is merely a newfound peace and inner security.

Finally, I take a short trip to a small olive grove just outside Jerusalem. Jesus had spent the evening with His disciples celebrating the Passover, a Jewish High Day. It is now night as Jesus leads his disciples into this olive grove. The disciples fall asleep, but Jesus walks some distance and kneels to pray. He alone knows what is ahead of Him; He faces the cross and all that it implies, including becoming a sin offering and being rejected by the Father because of the sin he assumes. He has a very simple prayer. “Father, if it is possible to do this any other way…but not my will but thy will be done.”

Here is the ultimate act of surrender. The Son surrenders to the Father, and the result of this act gives me access to the Father. He lays his rights and privileges aside and yields who He is to the plan of God.

I have no right to judge or decide who has surrendered to God. He alone knows His sheep and calls them by name.

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