The date was March 21, but three years ago on Good Friday, my grandfather died. I don't know what it is about this year, this day, but my heart just feels...heavy.
My grandfather wasn't a particularly kind man (he liked to say that he was "the meanest SOB you'll ever meet"). He wasn't really even a loving man; although, I know he loved us in his own way. Grandfather could be a very difficult man to love, but that doesn't mean he wasn't deserving of love. My grandfather was strong - physically and mentally. Hugging my grandfather was like hugging a brick wall. Good luck trying to win an argument with him. It was his way or the highway. Literally. Grandfather was a proud, independent, strong man.
It was difficult watching my strong grandfather slowly waste away from congestive heart failure. He fought - boy, did he fight - insisting nothing was wrong. He didn't want help. God had to chip away at my grandfather's pride. Grandfather became totally dependent on us for EVERYTHING. If he wanted it, he had to ask us for it. God could've taken my grandfather in an instant, but we would have had a lot of unresolved hurts. But I believe He allowed things to happen as they did so that we could repair the damage. If "things" went unspoken before Grandfather died, it wasn't because we didn't have enough time. God put my grandfather in a corner, stripped away his pride, and He asked us to love him and serve him as he died. It was difficult, very difficult, but through that process our family gained some much needed healing.
Maybe I'm feeling "it" more keenly this year because God has been putting *me* in the corner. I have my grandfather's independence and strong will. Like my grandfather, I don't like to ask or rely on others for help. But God's been stripping away *my* pride and making *me* dependent on others. I feel like He keeps conking me on the head with a giant board that says, "You're Not In Control." Right now He's pretty much left me with things that are out of my control. I'm backed into the corner. The only way out it is to surrender.
I've been learning that surrender is a beautiful thing. I used to feel like surrendering was admitting defeat or giving up. But now, I see it as moving me out of the way so God's best can prevail. It hasn't been easy. It's required some tears, some sacrifice, some letting go, and some shaping. And it's still requiring those things.
On Good Friday, I'm reminded of Jesus' surrender to the Father's plan. Jesus' surrender required sacrifice...HIS sacrifice. There was pain - immense pain. There were many prayers - prayers so fervent and intense that Jesus sweat blood (Luke 22:44). But Jesus' sacrifice was so that God's best could prevail...and that was eternal life for us.
What's God asking you to surrender? Real surrender requires sacrifice, but it's all so that we can gain God's best for us. Jesus set the bar high. As I go through the process of surrender and sacrifice, it helps to remember that Jesus doesn't ask me - or you - to do anything He wasn't willing to do Himself.