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One of the most famous surrenders in American history occurred in Appomattox, VA, when General Robert E. Lee of the Confederacy met with General Ulysses S. Grant in the home of a local townsman. The Army of Northern Virginia had nowhere to go without further slaughter, so Lee chose to save the lives of his men by surrendering to the Union Army.

Tradition dictates that a defeated army surrenders it weapons to the conquering army, a token of good faith to cease all conflict. Immediately. In Lee’s case, he and his officers were allowed to keep their swords, but the troops gave up their guns and swords. They gave up control over their fate and left themselves at the mercy General Grant and the United States government.

Here’s what happened when the two generals hashed out terms.

Grant offered  grace.

Not only did he allow the men to keep their horses, for these soldiers had brought the horses they owned to the war, he gave them safe passage home, including free transportation on the trains, and gave them enough rations for the journey. The treaty at Appomattox wasn’t officially the end of the war—that happened over a year later—but it set the tone to allow men of honor to return to their families and resume their lives without fear of retribution. There would be no parading of prisoners in the streets. There would be no jail time for those who fought against the Union.

Too often, we are afraid to surrender to God.


If General Grant and the other generals offered grace at the close of a bloody war, how can we not trust the God of the universe? Men are flawed, but sometimes, they do the right thing. God is not flawed. He will always do the right thing.

And yet. We hesitate to trust Him.

We picture a perfect God of Justice wielding a sword of His own, ready to chop off our heads!

My soldier son was a perfect case in the struggle of allowing God to control his life. We were discussing the importance of surrender to Christ.

“Mom, you know I can’t do that,” he protested.

For surrender is the antipathy of every soldier. Including General Lee.

The image of the Appomattox agreement came to my mind. “Think about what it took for Lee to symbolically hand over his sword and trust Grant’s mercy,” I said. “Yet that official surrender brought about peace to thousands of people. Can you trust God for His mercy toward you? Can you hand over your sword to Him?”

He said he’d think about it.

When I watch my son now, I see a freedom of spirit he never possessed before. He did surrender control of his life to Jesus, and he has learned to trust His Savior.

When he watches the world wobble out of control, he knows God is not surprised. He understands God has His own purposes within catastrophic events, and he trusts the Lord. The burden is off his shoulders. The woes of the world are not my son’s responsibility, but God has no problem dealing with them.

God gives us singular missions in life.

Some of those missions span decades; others might better be called “temporary assignments.” We get the job done with His help and move on to the next mission He has ordained for us.

No need to fear. Every reason to trust.

God is Omnipresent. Always with us.

He is Omnipotent. All powerful.

He is Omniscient. He knows everything.

If He’s always with us, then He has our backs in the toughest situations.

If He is all powerful, His strength wins our spiritual battles. Our best strategy is to obey His orders. Anything beyond that, step aside and cheer Him on to victory.

If He is all-knowing, then we can be sure He understands all the details of every situation. He’ll keep us safe.

Lee’s surrender to the Union army was the best decision he could make under the circumstances.

Surrendering to the God who loves us is the best decision we will ever make in our lives!




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