To make the statement “There is freedom in surrender”may make some question your logic. The reality of life in Christ’s kingdom is that very often the “foolish things of the world confound the wise” and the weak confound the mighty. The way up is down. The way to live is to die. The way of freedom requires a cross. Surrender to the cross of Christ brings freedom that can only be described as abundant life in Christ.
Amy Carmichael was born in 1867 and died in 1951. She spent fifty-three years in India setting up orphanages to rescue children from prostitution in Hindu temples and ministering to the people she met. Amy affected the lives of countless Indians, giving them a hope for a future on earth and in heaven.While serving in India, Amy received a letter from a young lady who was considering life as a missionary, She asked Amy, “What is missionary life like?” Amy wrote back saying simply, “Missionary life is a chance to die.”
Amy Carmichael penned a short book, with a one-word, two-letter title: If. It’s a book about the freedom that comes with surrender to the Christ of Calvary. As she refers to various aspects of life and what she calls “Calvary Love” it is a call to surrender – and a response to it brings true freedom.
She wrote, “If I have not compassion on my fellowservant, even as my Lord had pity on me, then I know nothing of Calvary love…If I can easily discuss the shortcomings and the sins of any; if I can speak in a casual way even of a child’s misdoings, then I know nothing of Calvary love…If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love….If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love…” You see, surrender to the cross – Calvary love – brings with it free-flowing compassion for the least to the greatest.
“If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, “You do not understand,” or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other’s highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” Freedom to be true to God and true to yourself – to, like Paul, speak the truth in love – is borne out of surrender to the cross of Christ.
“If I myself dominate myself, if my thoughts revolve around myself, if I am so occupied with myself I rarely have “a heart at leisure from itself,” then I know nothing of Calvary love…If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or twentieth); if I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” A true and willing surrender to the cross will bring with it a removal of self-serving and self-centeredness that is only found in Christ. He replaces your self – with Himself. It is freedom self-promotion and brings with it self-sacrifice for the Kingdom and for others.
“If I do not give a friend ‘the benefit of the doubt,’ but put the worst construction instead of the best on what is said or done, then I know nothing of Calvary love…If I take offense easily; if I am content to continue in a cool unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love…If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted….” What a tremendous gift of God to be able in true freedom to see the good instead of the bad, the positive instead of the negative, the treasured instead of the trash.
“If I say, ‘Yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget,’ as though the God, who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of all the world, could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know nothing of Calvary love…If the living God who made the tide and washes the shores daily cannot wash away from my mind the caustic remarks, the ugliness, the wrongs in someone else, then I haven’t even entered into Calvary love.” True surrender to the cross brings freedom from unforgiveness.and sets at liberty the power of forgiveness in our lives.
“If I ask to be delivered from trial rather than for deliverance’s out of it, to the praise of His Glory; if I forget that the way of the cross leads to the cross and not to a bank of flowers if I regulate my life on these lines or even unconsciously my thinking so that I am surprised when the way is rough and think it strange, though the word is, ‘Think it not strange.’ ‘Count it all joy,’ then I know nothing of Calvary love.” The freedom that comes with true surrender brings with it the ability to find joy is sorrow, peace in turmoil, His strength in our weakness.
One of the last entries in the little book says this, If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” I would add, “And I know nothing of the freedom that comes with surrender.”