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From Chaplain Alan Farley
(Hon Chaplain, 290 Foundation
Matthew 6:10, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
The day: July 4, 1863. The place: Vicksburg, Mississippi. The occasion: surrender of the Vicksburg, Confederate army by Lt. General John C. Pemberton to Major General Ulysses S, Grant. The North had won a critical battle in its quest to gain control of the Mississippi River. Historically, the battle is known as the “Siege of Vicksburg.” This siege did not take place overnight. It was a hard-fought affair that lasted 47 days.
A small marker identifies this ironically tranquil spot. It records that “unconditional surrender terms” could not be reached on July 3, when truce flags first appeared. Not until the following day, July 4, were the surrender terms agreed upon.
Think of the phrase “unconditional surrender terms.” What di it represent to a weary Confederate army who realized the fight was over and they had lost? To surrender unconditionally meant to cease fighting, to give up, to quit. There was no more time for deliberation and no more hope for celebration. Because of impending defeat, surrender was necessary.
For Christians, there needs to be an unconditional surrender of our will to Jesus Christ. When we pray “Thy will be done,” we are saying we want God’s will above and beyond our own. We are surrendering our wants and ways to His way.
Surrender is never easy. It always comes after a fight. It also comes after the painful realization that self must suffer defeat and Christ must have control. Surrender becomes the only rational and sensible action to take, no matter how humiliating or crushing.
Surrendering your will to Jesus is the only rational and sensible action to take. This surrender may mean defeat of you self-will but victory for your spirit. Have you surrendered to Jesus Christ with “unconditional surrender terms”?