I’ve become quite a fan of the band NEEDTOBREATHE. If you haven’t heard these guys, you really are missing out—impressive vocals and enjoyable instrumentation. My current favorite song is from their latest album, Rivers in the Wasteland, and is called “Multiplied.” When I hear a new song, I try to spend time focusing on the meaning of the lyrics. And this is particularly true when it comes to singing songs about God. After all, because of who He is, I want to be sure that what I am singing is true and reverent and honors the King of the universe, the Lord of all creation.
So, as I’ve listened to “Multiplied” over and over again over the last few weeks, one line keeps jumping out at me—“God of Mercy sweet love of mine/I have surrendered to your design.” What is His design, His plan? And what does it mean to surrender to it? Have I surrendered to His design?
I know for me, this can be difficult. As a wife, I find that I sometimes fight against God’s design of a husband being the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church. The struggle isn’t because my husband is harsh or cruel, but because I want the authority for myself. It is because of my sin that I that I fight this, not his. Many days, I would rather God would submit to my design rather than the other way around!
The Church has had difficulty surrendering to God’s design in many areas as well. The opening chapters of Genesis tell us that God designed one day in every seven be a Sabbath, a rest, to the Lord. Many in the Church fight this because they want to decide how to spend the day and spending the day doing the things they want to do (worshiping themselves) is much more appealing to them than spending it worshiping God.
More recently, the Church is having difficulty surrendering to God’s design for marriage. The same opening chapters of Genesis mentioned above tell us how God determined that it was not good for man to be alone and so he created woman–we have the first marriage between Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman. Yet many in the Church want to have God surrender to their design for marriage and to condone same-sex marriages.
There are many other areas where we fight God’s design–children/parents, citizens/government, the role of women in public worship, and on and on.
Why would God design things the way He does, even when those designs seem so difficult for us? I think the answer to that lies in the first part of the song line mentioned above. God is a God of mercy, a God of compassion. He is a loving father who knows what’s best for us, even though we are rebellious children who want to fight his will for us. Those of us who are parents have all experienced a time where we have had to tell our children that they couldn’t do or have something that they desperately and sincerely wanted because we loved them and we had some knowledge or experience that taught us that allowing them to do so would hurt them. It is similar (though I dare not say the same) with God’s love for us.
Remembering this and keeping this at the front of my mind, helps me (with the power of the Spirit working in me) to be truthful as I sing, “God of mercy sweet love of mine/I have surrendered to your design.”