I’m familiar with Elisabeth Elliot, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever actually read one of her books before. I expected Joyful Surrender: 7 Disciplines for the Believer’s Life to be old fashioned and spiritual. It was. In a good way.
I’m afraid that I started reading this book somewhat halfheartedly. I was skimming through it, my mind elsewhere. I just couldn’t seem to connect with it. I laid it down, forgot about it for a few days, then picked it up again. This time I gave it more attention.
I opened up to where I’d left off, halfway in chapter 6 – “A Sovereign God and a Man’s Choice”. I read about little specks of algae called diatoms. I read about a farmer. I read about Moses and the Israelites at the Red Sea. And then it came to life for me. God parted the sea, but Moses and the Israelites had the choice of whether or not to trust God and step onto the dry ground surrounded by giant waves of water.
“When the will of man acts in accord with the will of God, that is faith. When the will of man acts in opposition to the will of God, that is unbelief,” says Elliot. God gives us free will. Faith is trusting that He knows what He’s doing rather than acting on our own behalf. She then goes on to explain that happiness and joy come from following God’s rules. He knows what He’s doing. All we have to do is submit to the rules and follow His guidance.
That’s all we have to do. So simple, and yet so hard for us to grasp. For whatever reason, we tend to think that we know best for our lives, that we as creations know more than our creator. In Joyful Surrender, Elisabeth Elliot reminds us that we must surrender in order to find joy.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.