How does it feel to successfully surrender something to the Lord? It truly is a wonderful adventure which I regretfully don’t choose enough but over the last two days I did. I hope my tale will encourage you to do the same.

I was on vacation when my sister called to say she would be returning to Japan to visit her daughter–something I’d been wanting to do for some time. The timing would be perfect for me to join her. But the problem was, my passport was at home and she needed it to book my flights. I would have to wait a week to return home and hope the fares didn’t go up.

At home, yesterday/Friday, I excitedly found the flight online but the fare had gone up $150. Well, that wasn’t too bad; I would still do it. I reached for the file that held our passports and couldn’t believe it when our passports weren’t in the file. I always put them there. Where could they be?

Over the next 24 hours, I almost frantically searched in every possible file in the office. Larry and I tried to remember if we had hid them at some point and couldn’t remember. But all possible hiding places turned up nothing. (Note to those of us older: don’t hide something without sending an email telling yourself where you hid it!) Where were the passports?

As the hours passed and my frustration grew, I began to question the Lord. “Don’t you want me to go, Lord?” I didn’t understand why it wasn’t a good idea. What was going on?

The next morning, this morning, I wanted to resume the search but I knew I needed to be faithful to keep my devotional time. I did. As I read the Bible and prayed, I felt at peace. James 4:13-15 ministered to me, “Come now, you who say, “‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.'” (NASB)

I figured that if the passports didn’t surface today, the prices would most likely go up again and make it unaffordable. Today would determine whether I went. Regardless of the cost, it seemed God was using this to guide. “OK, Lord, if you don’t want me to go, then I know you have a better plan. I surrender. I’ll see how you lead today.”

My surrender was a point of victory. I felt like Lady Galadriel, played by Cate Blanchett in the story, Lord of the Rings. She is tempted to take hold of the ring and when she resists, she declares, “I passed the test.” I felt the same. I’d passed the test. I would peacefully and joyfully surrender to whatever God wanted. And at that point, I didn’t have much hope of something changing.

This afternoon, I decided to clear the desk and make sure that somehow the passports weren’t lurking under some pile, even though I’d searched before. I reached over to a nearby table and grabbed a holder of CD’s. They spilled out onto the floor and into a tiered file tray. I started gathering them up and reached down into the file tray on the bottom tier to pull out the CDs and instead pulled out the passports. When I called to Larry to tell him the good news, he came into the office and exclaimed, “Oh, now I remember. I’d put them there to file them later” (several months ago!) Because the file tray was on the floor and was turned backward, it was very hard to see into it and I never would have looked there. I felt like the Lord guided me through some spilled CD’s and smiled as He said, “Go to Japan!”

I excitedly called my sister and logged onto the airline’s web site. Lo and behold, the fare was back to the lower cost! I booked my flight.

As I told my sister, Karen, the story and related how I’d thought, “I passed the test,” she told me how when her daughter helps her toddler do something, she exclaims, “You did it!” But of course, the mother actually did it! Karen said, “Isn’t that just like the Lord? He gives us the power to obey so that we can say we passed the test.”

How wise. Any obedience or surrender comes from His Holy Spirit which empowers us. How grateful we can be to a mighty God who indwells us and strengthens us. And then we experience the joy of obedience and surrender.