I remember having an interesting conversation about philosophy with a close friend many years ago. We were talking about suffering and had slightly different perspectives on the issue of surrendering.
When my friend was telling me about his spiritual path, he said that he has gotten to the point — after facing many trials — where he just surrenders. I could relate to this in one respect, in that I often feel like just giving up when I’m going through some of my hardest times.
By saying ‘surrendering’ we were simply referring to the act of ceasing to struggle and just accepting one’s circumstances without any mental resistance.
Where my friend and I disagreed (just a little), is that I believe we ultimately have no choice in the matter of whether we surrender or not, because I believe God is in control of everything that happens, including any potential surrendering we might do. Perhaps my friend would agree with this these days, I’m not sure. He has generally been more interested in Eastern philosophy than the Abrahamic religions, and often in Eastern philosophy the concept of God is as a higher state of consciousness (an ‘it’), rather than the personal God (a ‘thou’) who we relate to in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
I think my personal inclination in the hardest of times is to speak to God through prayer, perhaps along with surrendering, whereas I don’t know whether my friend would bring prayer into his difficult situations, as to the best of my knowledge he doesn’t have a personal relationship with God.
The point that I’m trying to make is simply this: When things are really tough for you, and there is no clear way forward, surrendering (letting go / giving up) can bring great comfort. But you will only wish to surrender by the will of God, because we are merely as puppets in God’s hands: God is the sovereign controller of all things.