Ah, the sweetness of Holy Week. People may think I am nuts (and God knows I am!), but I really love Holy Week, I love how somber it is, how reflective people get as we approach the death of Jesus.
The closer we get to Good Friday (three days away already?!) the more I realize and remember the beauty of surrender. In so many ways, surrender is the culmination of my lenten experience this year. I went in to the TEC retreat a few weeks ago seeking answers to many questions and in my mind they are pretty big questions. And do you know what I got? Peace. No answers, no small whispers from the Lord in the wind, not even so much as a tiny nudge. However, it is that peace that has moved me to surrender anything that threatens that peace.
This is the part where I struggle to explain my thoughts without going into all the hairy details of my life. Its been a really beautiful few weeks – anything that threatens or challenges the peace that He wants me to have is gone, either He removes it from me (which can be far more painful than simple words can convey) or my desire for it vanishes because my desire for Him, my desire for His peace is so much greater.
Sometimes I think following after Jesus is like running at a door and hoping that it isn’t locked, but most of the time it is locked. You run at again and again hoping for different results until you just don’t care anymore and when you give up caring you run and find that it has opened. When we stop trying so hard and let God work truly amazing things happen. We surrender and He gives us more than we could have ever imagined.
Don’t misunderstand me, this isn’t some instantaneous thing and it can’t be done with half of your heart. It takes your whole heart, you have to continually run at that door and lay everything down at His feet. It sounds so easy and I even feel a bit preachy saying it, but it takes your whole heart – He’ll take half of your heart, oh yes, but He wants the whole thing. Remember that first commandment? “I, the LORD, am your God…you shall have no other gods besides me” (Exodus 20:2-3). He waits patiently, calling us to give our whole hearts to Him.
Do you know what happens when a person gives their whole heart to the Lord? When they hold nothing back from Him? When they follow Him where ever He may lead? Miracles. Water is turned into wine. People are cancer free. The host literally bleeds on the altar. Poisoned wine breaks the chalice, saving its victim from death. Jesus dies. Oh wait, you think that last one isn’t miraculous? It took nothing short of Jesus laying His whole heart in the palm of His Father’s hands before He could suffer for us. He surrendered in the Garden of Gethsemane and yes, suffering came, pain, humiliation and shame came, but then eternal life followed.
There truly is something about surrender and its so opposite of what the world teaches us. Surrendering is for weak people, weenies, cry babies, whiners and complainers. Surrendering is for quitters and no one wants to be a quitter. I contend that Jesus came to flip this whole notion upside down and we still aren’t getting it – surrender takes strength. It takes courage to give up, to admit that I don’t have what it takes. It takes bravery to let someone else come in and help you carry the cross because you are falling under the weight of it. Surrender brings beauty and new life, a chance to go it not alone, but to go this road with God. Jesus modeled this in His walk to Calvary – He accepted help from Simon the Cyrene because the cross was too much for Him. He looked at His mother and He knew the Truth when He said, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). Jesus had the strength to surrender and we can only begin to see the glorious effect that His surrender has had on the world. So my question to you is this:
Are you strong enough to surrender?
Follow Him to Calvary, feel His wounds, breath in His agony…beauty awaits.