The scenes unfolding in Afghanistan this past week are heartbreaking on so many levels. And it’s just as sad to think that, in our fractured world, we may never understand, much less agree on, what went wrong and how to avoid the same mistakes in the future.
And so we’re all hurting.
Or should I say, hurting still? Wasn’t 2020 supposed to be over?
But there is a spiritual lesson that each of us should internalize:
It’s hard to surrender.
Giving up control can be a lot harder than taking it.
This week we’re studying John 10, which is right in the middle of the Gospel of John. Hebrew writers often used “ring composition,” so the main point was in the middle, instead of up front or at the end.
And in the middle of the Gospel of John is the central claim of the Christian faith:
Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd.”
“I lay down my life for my sheep.”
“I and the Father are one.”
The central claim of the Christian faith is that Jesus Christ is Lord, and in the greatest, once-and-for-all act of surrender, gave up his life for his fallen creatures. The eternal one who spoke all of creation into being and keeps it all running, surrendered and died.
But then he rose again.
Chaos and surrender didn’t have the last word.
In God’s economy, Jesus “laying down” his life turned out to be the greatest “lifting up” in history.
And so he promised, “I give them eternal life.”
“No one will snatch them out of my hand.”
But surrender doesn’t come easily to us. We like being in control. We’d prefer if he sent us on a great spiritual quest. But he doesn’t do that. We don’t have to be the best and the brightest. We don’t even have to be better than most.
All we have to do is understand that we’re his sheep, loved sheep at that, and that we’re helpless to save ourselves.
And surrender to him.