A Gracious Victor

By David Armstrong

Camille N. Johnson gave a talk in October 2021 general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called “Invite Christ to Author Your Story.” In this talk, she said:

“[Christ] is mercifully willing to use me, a scrawny pencil, as an instrument in His hands, if I have the faith to let Him, if I will let Him author my story. . . . Letting God prevail, letting Him be the author and finisher of our stories, does require us to keep His commandments and the covenants we have made. It is our commandment and covenant keeping that will open the line of communication for us to receive revelation through the Holy Ghost.”

Sister Johnson is talking about surrendering to God and letting his will prevail in her life and in mine. To surrender is to stop fighting and accept the opponent as the victor. Except, God is not my opponent. At least, He doesn’t want to be. He doesn’t want to fight with me. He wants to join with me and have me join with Him in His glorious work. I’m the only one who is fighting. Like the old farmer in the Parable of the Meddling Neighbor, I foolishly put up resistance to everything that is meant for my good.

The Spirit whispers to me to visit a neighbor, and I say, “Not now, I’m busy with my own troubles.” The Holy Ghost suggests reading one more chapter of scripture, and I say, “Maybe tomorrow, I want to watch TV now.” The Holy Spirit prompts me to remember my covenants, and I say, “Okay, but only after I finish this project I’m working on.”

To let God prevail is to accept that whatever He wants is more important than what I want. What He needs me to do is more vital than what I think I need to be doing. His timing is better than my timing.

Surrendering, like repentance, is not an event but a process. A step at a time. I surrender myself in pieces until eventually I have given my whole self to God. To love God with all my heart, might, mind, and strength is total surrender. I’m not there yet. But I am on the path and finding little bits along the way to offer Him as I learn to accept His terms of surrender.

Covenants and commandments are the terms of my surrender to God. Ultimately, God requires unconditional surrender, but in the meantime, He accepts my plodding progress toward Him in my struggle to accept and improve in keeping His commandments and covenants.

God is a gracious victor. Even as He accepts my weapons of war, He gives me precious gifts. I am far better off in His camp than in my own camp. I will fare much better tending His flocks than herding my own scrawny desires. The garden He sets me to water produces far better fruit than the barren patch I was trying to cultivate on my own. He will give me everything He has if I will simply take down my fence and open my gate and let Him in.

Image by Momentmal

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