The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Difficulty surrendering to God


#1

I have been finding it hard for myself to surrender to God. I have been told the surrender to God is denial or detachment from earthly desires and God alone. But I find that I cannot just get rid of these desires, such as a fulfilling career, the right girl for myself, social justice, freedom from oppression, strong family ties, or beauty. Now I know that these things on their own are never going to be fulfilling, and these things can become idols. And frankly idols are not perfect and can disappoint. I still find myself frustrated if these desires are not fulfilled, and feel the constant need to work to achieve such desires, and refuse to entertain the possibility that I cannot get what I want, or accept things I cannot change. Honestly, the idea of accepting things as they are just because I cannot change them is morally repulsive and feels like selling out and saying might makes right all the while saying yes to evil and no to good.

So I feel like I would be only surrendering to God in order to get something in return. But this is not true surrender. It seems like true surrender is for God alone. But I am not sure if I can get to this point. This seems like I am being asked to just detach from all earthly desires. But I dont know if I can do this. We on one hand hear Jesus calling for self denial to God alone, yet we also hear Jesus saying to seek the kingdom of God and all things will be added, or to ask anything in the fathers name. This seems like a conundrum that God is not in competition with the created, and will give us worldly blessings, yet at the same time is asking us to seek out God for the sake of himself, while offering worldly appeals.


#2

WHO or WHAT has told you this? How have you come to assume that such is true? Is it true?

They aren’t desires to be rid of… in their given contexts they are normal God-given aspirations, i.e., normal.


#3

I guess it comes down to the problem of evil. These are just theories people came up with to justify the existence of evil. So this is the hard think is to trust and surrender to a God who permits so much evil.


#4

So HOW have you come to conclude that those things you listed, that I quoted, are a “problem of evil” — and as such, how are you equating one with the other, and that, in your personal life??


#5

It seems the apostle Paul was aware of this struggle when he wrote Romans 7:7-25.

20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Following is a message on total surrender & getting the “right girl”, etc, for oneself that may be of interest:

And i think this song by Amy Grant may also speak to you:

In that regard what do you think of these Bible passages:

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Heb.11:6)

35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the gospel will save it. 36 What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mk.8:35-37)


#6

I would say it has to do with Gods trustworthiness if he allows evil, why should I trust him to take care of my needs?


#7

Well, Joel…we live in a fallen world. Perhaps you need to talk, to some different church clergy members. Perhaps start with non-denominational and community churches. Then go on to things like the Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, etc.

Or take some philosophy and theology classes. And discuss points more in depth - with your professors.

I’m sure you will find, some answers that suit your perspective.


#8

I actually read quite a bit about the problem of evil. I have begun to think that maybe we dont need answers, because we are asked to justify the unjust. I found most theologians have never found a satisfactory answer for the problem of evil.
This reminds me of a clip from the show 8 simple rules episode “Goodbye” when Kates mother is giving her theological answers to explain why her husband died
8 Simple Rules: Goodbye particular point
This reminded me of Job when his friends kept trying to explain why he was suffering, and no adequate answer


#9

One perspective on the problem of evil that not many are aware of is that of deterministic universalism, e.g. this book which can be read free online here:

Or purchased here as a paperback:


#10

Well, to be fair - NEITHER have the classical and contemporary philosophers.


#11

For a good Christian movie that addresses the problem of evil, i’d suggest “The Shack”, which is based on the book of the same title:


#12

I actually saw that movie.


#13

If I put “The Shack movie” into Google…and look at page 1, for IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes,…reviewers there gave it, a collectively low rating. So, do the folks here that saw it - think it’s any good?

Or would I say this, if I saw the movie?


#14

So I’m missing your connection between your original post bemoaning your predicament with “earthly desires” and those relative to… “a fulfilling career, the right girl for myself, social justice, freedom from oppression, strong family ties, or beauty.” THEN you switched to the “problem of evil” to which you then responded as you have above.

All I can say is you are fully free to NOT… “trust him to take care of my needs” — that is fully within your purview and prerogative.


#15

Based on your previous posts, you could do a lot worse… Err, I mean, you have in the past at least. :zombie:


#16

I always refer people to the quote:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

This is nowhere better illustrated, then with the Twilight Zone episode entitled The Eye of the Beholder. Which would also include the zombies, in the Zombie Apocalypse. And TV shows, like AMC’s The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead. :smile:


#17

I guess my tie in would be whether God is good in a meaningful way that is beneficial to humanity. I think that we think of God in dualistic terms like one being among many. If I were to say surrender to another person, this would be essentially become a slave to another without any identity, freedom or worth except what the other decides. But I think this is a limitation of the mind that sees things in a very either-or way. I find it easy to accept God as non-competitive in an abstract way. It is difficult to believe in such a thing concretely. Since it is hard to imagine a non-dual being.

Now back to the problem of evil, I would best say the fear is that God is a tyrant with a “might makes right” definition of morality. I find this is the attitude most hardcore infernalists have in justifying God sending people to hell forever.

In Christian Theology, we understand God to be a trinity, which in having God as one Godhead in three persons necessitates that God is relationship and non-dual. If I am correct, Jewish and Muslim theology affirms that God is non-dual, but do not believe in the Trinity.


#18

Agreed, that is the defense some folks give in their support for a seemingly capricious ‘god’.
This defense, based on a really deficient understanding of Sovereignty, puts ‘god’ Beyond Good and Evil (Nietzsche).

Hugely dangerous for many reasons.


#19

First of all, how do we question God? Second of all, God (if you believe the scriptures) made man in HIS IMAGE. So it might be a question that we don’t quite understand God ‘vs’ if God is good or bad.

Peace.


#20

Might it be more accurate to simply drop the royal “we” and just own this rationale yourself… which then might explain your quandaries, perhaps??

Well minus the “tyrant” belief… that is none too dissimilar to purgatorial universalism, excepting there is an end-point.