I hope everyone had an enjoyable Easter weekend. I know I did, but amidst the family, food, Easter egg hunt (in which I look forward to participating all year long), and the talk of Jesus on the cross, I felt there was something missing that my heart longed to hear. Missing from the talk of Christ’s triumph, His sacrifice and glorification was His very distinct, pronounced act of giving up. And with the upcoming tumult of a move to yet another new locale, giving up control is the opposite of all I want.
Giving up in defeat
I know we think immediately of defeat when we hear the words ‘giving up.’ Look at the account of Jesus going to Gethsemane. Right before Jesus is betrayed, handed over, tortured and crucified, we have Jesus very distinctly giving up. Jesus voices His request to the Father, but accepts God’s purpose for His life as a sacrifice. There is no defeat in this account. There is no defeat in Jesus rousing the sleeping disciples, explicitly saying He is to meet His betrayal. This act of giving up is the ultimate act of courage. Empowerment.
The art of letting go
Letting go, giving up, something so apparently easy for Jesus, is not so for us. Why? It’s maddening in its simplicity. Jesus knew intimately the One to whom He was giving over control. He’d spent His entire life devoted to knowing and understanding God. He knew who God was, is, through intense study and countless experiences. To Him, there was no greater purpose in life. To me, there are so many competing interests and hobbies. For Christ, the choice was evident at a young age. He never wavered from His purpose. Giving up was merely a necessary step along His path.
Giving up and over the cliff
Giving up feels like letting go of the last handhold as we’re hanging hopelessly over an endless cliff. Giving up doesn’t make sense. It is the opposite of every desire within us. But it’s not. Giving up is precisely what our souls were made to do. Living a life yielded to the perfectly loving Father is every heart’s content. But, after years of hustle and toil, that deepest desire to know and be known by our Maker has been lost beneath the shuffle. Like a seed amongst the weeds, it’s nearly been choked to death. But it’s not too late to revive our hearts.
Giving up isn’t defeat, but the beginning to life. We daily fight for control, but to what end? If we look to Jesus as the author and perfecter of our faith, then we cannot miss the account of His letting go in the garden of Gethsemane. The path to His glorification began with a painstaking documentation of His giving up. But, this lesson seems lost on us today. It seems glossed over in the American version of triumph at Calvary. Where is the real victory found?