I was asked a question similar to this one, during a Q & A session recently. It’s such an important question that I’m adding this post to my Q&A Series. (Have it delivered to your inbox here).

In Control Girl, I wrote, “God never intended for us to carry around the burden of trying to control everything. He designed us to live in sweet surrender to him, trusting him with all that seems to threaten our future happiness.” (Control Girl, page 15).
So we lunge after one loose thread after another for this reason: we’re trying to hold onto the happy ending we’ve convinced ourselves that we can create, and must protect. But this white-knuckled grip on control only makes us (and those around us) miserable. The answer—I’ve said repeatedly—is surrender.
But what if surrender doesn’t bring happiness either? What if you give everything over to God, and live by his ways, and you still end up miserable?

How Will Things End Up?

I think the key word in that last question is “end up”. Because if we limit the story the parts that fit between our first and last breaths here on this planet, there are no guarantees.

We aren’t promised the happy ending we hope for in this life. Not by a long shot. Our world is broken, and we all live with the heartache of that. But for those who surrender their lives to God and say, “You are God; I am not,” there is the promise of a restored kingdom and a re-storied life!

The Happy Ending

Our ultimate “happy ending” is being kept for us in the Kingdom. And aren’t you so glad? Nothing is ultimately safe from the diminishing decay of sin, here in this world. Suppose you have experienced something you were hoping for in this life. If so, wasn’t your joy also mingled with a measure of pain, frustration, or ache for more?

This is now how things will be, however, in the kingdom of heaven. Psalm 16:11 says,

“You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

So if we’re among those whom Jesus has “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col 1:13), and if we’ve come to know the path of life, then here’s what awaits us in that kingdom:

  • Life in his presence. No more wondering if God sees or is near. We will be in his presence.
  • Fullness of joy. Our joy will be like a cup that is completely brimming full. No heartache mingled in; only joy.
  • We will experience pleasures forevermore. No expiration date. Only never-ending pleasures.
This is where surrender leads. This is the end of the story.

Slicing Off the Ends

If you’re contemplating surrender, and wondering whether you should give your life in its entirety—or just some smaller slice—over to God, here’s what I want you to remember.

The story, which your life is part of, started before sin; before the chapter you and I are living in. It started with God creating a perfect garden, and placing two people inside it, then giving them dominion. Our original parents had purpose and joy. They were unrestrained and free to discover and pursue pleasures evermore. This is the beginning of your story. It’s end—if you have been transferred from darkness to light (Col 1:13)—will mirror it.

So when you ask the question: “Will surrender really make me happy?” don’t slice off the ends of the story. Surrender is what God intended in the first place. That’s why he placed the tree in the middle of the garden (see chapter two of Control Girl, titled, “Eve: It Looked Good to Me”).

Surrender is what re-attaches your story to God’s. Surrender is you saying, “You are God, and I am not.” 

Surrender is what re-attaches your story to God's. Surrender is saying: You are God, and I am not. Click To Tweet

So it’s true that you might surrender to God, and still never get married, get a promotion, or become wealthy. But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is the end of the story. It’s not.

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Here’s what I wrote in Control Girl:
“When I put God in charge of my Happy Ending, I concede what is true. He’s in control and I am not. I do have choices, but every contingency in my life is attached to an ending held firmly in God’s grasp. I’m not sure how this all works, but because God is kind and wise, this is good news. He is weaving together an ending far happier than anything I could construct.
If the ending were in my hands, I’d be in constant hysterics, trying to manage loose threads and snags. I’d surely be a frantic, obsessive Control Girl.
But knowing that the last page of my story is settled gives me peace, security, and hope for the journey. If I start with the secure ending then flip backward, it’s easier to give God control of the things that concern me today. 
Even if my happiness seems to be unraveling, I am not undone, because I know that nothing has slipped from God’s hands. In all things, I can say with confidence, “Not my will, but yours, be done.”

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