Learning to Surrender


The great “spring” snowstorm/blizzard of April 11 and 12 will long live in my memory, both for the incredible amount of snow and for the lessons I learned.

I found myself getting worried on Friday morning, as I prepared to leave for work. I wondered how much snow we would get and when it would come. I wondered about the “blizzard conditions” they talked about on the weather channel. I was scheduled to preach that weekend; I was also scheduled to do an infant baptism. I began to fret about how I would get to St. Peter’s with the terrible weather ahead. Ah, human nature!

As it turned out, I was not able to make the trek from Little Canada to Mendota, on Saturday evening. Father Steven braved the elements and offered Mass for about 50 brave souls, and even baptized an infant! I reflected on my own reaction to the forecast, the piling snow and the rather frightening weather conditions that kept us all on the edge of our seats, from Friday evening to Sunday morning.

I somehow wanted God to wave his mighty hand over the weather in our part of the world, so that I didn’t have to face my fear of driving on slick roads and the visibility issues that come with that kind of a storm. I kept repeating the psalmists’ words, “Ice and snow, bless the Lord!” I prayed all the way to St. Peter’s on Sunday morning, where I picked up my preaching duties and also baptized an infant. There was no slipping or sliding on the roads, and despite a little “white knuckling” along the way, I made it just fine. Praise God!

All of this reminded me of a time, during spring of last year, when I was put in a position of having to deal with an emerging situation over which I had no control. It was 8:40 a.m. on Pentecost Sunday, when I bid Father David farewell, as he headed back home to take a much needed rest. There was no time to call in another priest and no time to plan a homily. Holy Spirit to the rescue! I literally stood at the ambo, opened my mouth and God provided the words! This is certainly not how I would have preferred things to go, but, in the final analysis, it all worked out. It always does. . .

At 60 years old, (I know, I know, I don’t look that old.) I am still learning to accept what God sends into my life, trusting that His will shall be done. There are beautiful lessons of surrender and acceptance of God’s will in these little storms of life. As usual, I worried and fretted about things over which I had no control. God knew what he was doing, and he knew how he would use these situations to teach his son another lesson.

Surrender is about letting go and letting God. I know in my head that I need to do that. In my heart, though, it’s another story. I can honestly look back on my life over these past 60 years and see God’s hand guiding me through every storm.   Not once has he failed me, and yet, I will still worry and fret each time a storm comes into my life.

Acceptance is about realizing that God either sends situations into our lives, or he allows them to happen. It is not easy to accept things that we don’t choose for ourselves. At times, it is incredibly painful or difficult to accept what does come into our lives. As is often the case, God surprises us by teaching us a beautiful lesson that would have otherwise passed us by. God sends people into our lives in the most difficult moments, and, like angels, they serve as guides and helpers in these times of struggle.

God never leaves us. God is constantly watching over us and guiding our life’s path. There is a beautiful peace that falls over us when we realize that we are not in control, accept our reality and then surrender our will to God’s perfect will.

The snow is melting, and for that I am glad. I know there will be more storms ahead—both the weather variety and the storms of life. Today, I thank our loving God for the storms that he has brought me through. I am learning to accept and surrender.

What about you?

In the joy of the Risen Christ!

Deacon Tim


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