The two boys sit in a settee flanked by a white wall and a green curtain.
The one with a guitar appears about fifteen and the smaller one looks about eight. The little one stares calmly toward the camera, and when the older boy starts strumming, his thin body moves to the music. Then he opens his mouth, and in a voice that is an international treasure he belts out an anthem of joy:
“All that I am, I place into your loving hands. I am yours. I am yours. From the rooftops I proclaim, I am yours.“
I listen to him, and I long to visit his church. I think I can sense in him the unrestrained worship, exploding with hope, that he knows.
This is a wonder of the internet: two boys in the Philippines can fill me with joy at my kitchen table in Colorado. In his humble venue the boy radiates courage and confidence. It seems to me that God has poured into his soul the song meant to be sung by all humankind: fearless joy in belonging to God.
So as I seek to discern God’s will and purposes for me, I keep coming back to this song. These boys remind me of the prerequisite to knowing God’s will: SURRENDER.
They also remind me that belonging to God fills a soul with JOY.
I read Paul’s words the other day: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. . . . that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect,” (Romans 12:1-2, ESV).
I hear Paul affirming that before I can know what God asks of me in any situation, I must surrender, saying with my small friend, “I am yours.”
Jesus said it like this: “Not my will, but yours be done,” (Luke 22:42). And the writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus could say this, even when God asked him to endure the cross, “for the joy that was set before him,” (Hebrews 12:2).
Jesus knew what I must learn, that we find enduring joy only through surrender.
C.S. Lewis addresses surrender in Mere Christianity. He writes, “Christ says, ‘Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want you.’ ”
So before God will tell me what to do in this situation or that, I hear him asking me to put all that I am into his loving hands. Only then will I be able “to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will,” (Romans 12:2, NIV).
I hope you will watch this video of Aldrich Lloyd Talonding and his cousin James Walter Bucong, and may your heart respond, “Yes, Lord. I am yours.” I pray you and I can surrender, becoming living sacrifices to the beautiful God who gave himself for us, so that we can learn what he asks of us, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Amen.