Born on a farm, Judson Van DeVenter learned to paint, studied art, and became an art teacher. God, however, had a different plan for him. Friends valued his work in church and urged him to go into evangelism. Judson felt God calling him too, but it was hard for him to give up his love for teaching art. He wrestled with God, but “at last,” he wrote, “the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all.”
We can’t imagine Abraham’s heartbreak when God called him to surrender his son Isaac. In the wake of God’s command to “sacrifice him there as a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2), we ask ourselves what precious thing God is calling us to sacrifice. We know that He ultimately spared Isaac (v. 12), and yet the point is made: Abraham was willing to surrender what was most precious to him. He trusted God to provide in the midst of a most difficult calling.
We say we love God, but are we willing to sacrifice what’s dearest to us? Judson Van DeVenter followed God’s call into evangelism and later penned the beloved hymn “I Surrender All.” In time, God called Judson back into teaching. One of his students was a young man named Billy Graham.
God’s plan for our lives has purposes we can’t imagine. He longs for us to be willing to surrender what is dearest. It seems that’s the least we can do. After all, He sacrificed for us His only begotten Son.