Hold Not Back: A Call to Surrender

By Shelby Hawks

“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud…Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; hold not back, lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.” – Isaiah 54:1-2

Sitting before Jesus, exposed in Adoration, I was struck by these words. It reminded me of my own heart.

Inside each of our hearts, Christ dwells in a “tent”—the place of our heart which we have surrendered to him, the place where He is free to roam, to dwell, to take up rest. It is the sacred space reserved for Him—the sacred space in which He reigns, Sovereign King, over and above all other concerns of our fickle human hearts. It is the place His Precious Blood has anointed.

And yet the Lord calls for us to enlarge this space. To make it wider, to make it stronger. Why?  Because He wants more of us.

He does not want to reign in a boxed-in portion of our hearts. He does not want to only have control over a piece of our very busy and chaotic life. He does not want to only calm a part of the storm.

He wants it all. He wants the whole of our hearts. He wants more than we think we can give Him—more of our heart than we even know we possess.

It is a seemingly daunting and terrifying task—to surrender our entire heart to the hand of the Lord.

There are fears—
There won’t be room for other things (I can’t hide).
He won’t fill it (I will be empty).
He won’t be enough (I will ache).
He won’t satisfy (I will be thirsty).

Though He claims in John 10:10 to be the God of abundance, we somehow still let the serpent’s sneaky lies tell us that there is no way our Loving Father, our Beloved Friend, our Source and Strength will be able to satisfy the very heart He created.

When we enlarge our tents, when we surrender the heart, He will faithfully fill, abundantly satisfy, and make the land of our heart plentiful. For His promises are true, His Word is faithful, and His Blood brings redemption and resurrection.

Even when we are barren, even when we feel empty and fruitless with nothing to offer, when we feel dry, stagnant, dead, He still wants all of it because He wants to revive.

Brothers and sisters, He will expose and empty and strip—because He wants more for us. He doesn’t want us to live in the tomb (in fear or distress or anxiety or depression or darkness or despair)—He wants us to be at peace, to be unbound. The only way we can have this peace is to give Him full control, full authority over the heart He made, knows, sees, and deeply loves, because from the place of true surrender comes the hope of true resurrection.

He calls for more of our hearts, He calls us to enlarge the tent because He wants to transform. He wants to manifest His power and authority in our lives—He wants to raise us to new life. He wants to take the barren, desolate places and make them plentiful, fruitful, life-giving. He wants us to surrender all that we are so that we can be wholly His and belong to none other. He desires for our hearts to be like His—sacred and ablaze.

Brothers and sisters, the Lord is calling us to enlarge our tents, to give Him more of our hearts.

“Hold not back,” He says. He wants to take up a dwelling place in us, to rest in the home of our hearts.

Let us respond courageously by stretching out our hands, falling to our knees, and laying down our defenses, so that we may no longer be held by fear but surrender ourselves whole and entire, knowing that He will bring abundance and resurrection through the Blood of His Cross to our barren and empty land.

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