I have recently been reading the story of a man called Rees Howells. Quite an incredible and inspiring man. He was born in 1879 and lived until 1950. He was a man used mightily by God to change the course of history. His prayers saw people healed, bible colleges setup and even the course of World War II changed. God really taught him what it was to pray for others and he saw amazing revival break out it Africa. An altogether inspiring story of faith and perseverance.
It has brought to the surface for me a question that I guess has always been there. What is it that allows someone to be so powerfully used by God in bringing transformation to this world?
Other questions naturally follow:
Where is God’s power in my life? Am I doing something wrong that I do not walk in victory every day? Can someone sustain a life of miracles? If God can do the impossible and he lives in me what am I missing?
This line of questioning and the reading of the story of Rees Howells has led me to one possible conclusion. A simple conclusion, and yet a massively challenging one.
The distance between my complete inability and his complete ability is surrender.
I hope that makes sense to you. I often feel powerless to bring change and yet I live this life connected to an all-powerful and loving God. A God who cares deeply for the world and each person in it. He has told me that I will go on to do greater works than Jesus and yet I find myself weak and apathetic.
I see the principle of surrender worked out in the life of many powerful and effective men and women of God. They have made themselves available
and they have given their all to God. That can seem like an easy thing to some people on the outside but when it is worked out in reality it comes at a great cost. These people have given up their right to decide their future, where they will go and what they will say. Rees even surrendered his own son to another couple, that they might raise him. They have surrendered all that they own and made it all available for God. Many have no permanent home or many trusted friends.
All this might be enough to put off many of us! Yet they go on to say that they do not regret it for a moment. The joy they have found in a life of surrender is indescribable. Their eyes have seen things we only dream of, hopes restored, bodies healed, the dead raised and the course of history changed. Ultimately their inspiration is found in remembering just how much God has surrendered for them.
The pathway of surrender is no doubt a highly costly one and I think it is right that we should count the cost. If we want to walk in increased power and faith in our lives the secret seems to be right in front of us. I know I have a long way to go but I do pray that God would help me to surrender more to him that I might know increased freedom and live a life that makes a difference.
Just how much of my will and priorities am I willing to surrender to his though? The testimony of the great men and women of both the past and present seems to point out that the greater the surrender the more mightily God will be able use us.