It’s Fénelon Friday!
LETTER 34: Surrender Is Not a Heroic Sacrifice,
But a Simple Sinking Into the Will of God
Your only assignment, my dear daughter, is to be strong in faith, no matter what your weaknesses. “When I am weak,” says Paul, “then am I strong.” Strength is made perfect in weakness. We are only strong in the Lord in proportion to the weakness we sense in ourselves. So your weakness will turn out to be your strength if you accept it humbly.
Sometimes we are tempted to believe that weakness and humility are not compatible with the surrendered life. This is because we tend to think of surrender as that great thing we do when we want to show God how much we love Him, and how heroically we are willing to sacrifice everything. But a true surrender to God has nothing to do with such a flattering description as that.
Let me tell you what real surrender is. It is simply resting in the love of God, as a little baby rests in its mother’s arms. A perfect surrender must even be willing to quit surrendering, if that is what God wants! We renounce ourselves, and yet, God never lets us know when it is complete. If we knew, it would no longer be complete, for there is nothing that bolsters the ego quite so much as knowing that it is fully surrendered!
Surrender consists, not in doing great, heroic deeds about which self can brag, but simply in accepting whatever God sends, and not seeking to change it (unless it is His will for it to be changed). Full surrender is full peace. If we are restless and concerned about things formerly renounced, we have not genuinely surrendered. Surrender is the source of true peace; if we aren’t at peace, it is because our surrender is not complete.
Francis Fénelon, Let Go (New Kensington, PA: Whittaker House, 1973).