LETTING GO

WORDS FROM W.W. March 3, 2010

We are a pack-rat people! There are piles of accumulation around us and we can’t let go. For many of us it’s how we keep some sense of life control. We’re afraid that releasing will bring us to the edge of the unknown. Like the Hebrews whining to Moses about their loss of being enslaved, we tend to defer to what has been “the known” rather than release our grip and experience freedom.
Our possession is the most visible expression of this tight grip on life, but as I’m writing this I’m thinking of other, perhaps less obvious, ways that we don’t let go. There’s the accumulation of the years with our children, and then one day we realize that they’ve grown up, matured, and don’t need our mothering or close-at-hand fathering any more. But it’s what we’ve known, it’s what we’ve become accustomed to, and it’s what we’ve allowed to define us. Letting go at that point is heartache personified. They have been our kids!
We’re not anxious for them to be adults.
There’s the letting go of our parents, or the letting go of our spouse or sibling who is in the winter of their life. How often do we cling to the shell of the person who we have grown old with? How possessive have we become of the one who is now closer to heaven than he is to earth? We sometimes think we’re being heartless when we release the dying to the Lord. The void that is viewed by the empty seat beside us is too much to be willing to bare.
There is also the reluctance to let go of our will in order for the Lord to do His. Each Sunday worship includes multiple references to words like “faith”, “ trust”, and “believe”, and the rest of our week could e characterized as a time of having a death grip on our personal agenda. Surrendering all is easy to sing about, but like oil and water in practicing.
The ironic point is that we are called people of faith, the trust-and-obeying types. We stress the Lordship of Christ in our theology. We talk up accepting Jesus as being our Lord and Savior, and then we spend a lot of the rest of our life living it down.
We rationalize that is why there is grace.
Don’t think I’ve got it figured out. I’m just as self-centered and wanting to be in control as the next guy. I’m afraid that if someone stood up this Sunday in the worship service and asked to share a word from the Lord, I’d respond to “Get to the back of the line!” Letting go of the sermon time is difficult for me, especially when I’ve spent so much time preparing it.
We’re pack-rats in a multitude of ways. How do we get past that?
Sometimes we get past it as a result of something getting ripped out of our hands. God knows that there are situations in life where he must be in a pulling motion to get us to move on to the next point in our journey.
I was just reading a story in Acts 21 about Paul heading towards Jerusalem. A prophet named Agabus has told him that he will be bound by the Jews and handed over to the Gentiles (the Romans). Those who hear this try to dissuade Paul from going, and Paul’s respond to their hold is “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Then Luke writes this summary comment of the situation. “When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, ‘The Lord’s will be done.”
Perhaps that’s what it comes down to, “the Lord’s will be done.” How comfortable are we letting go and letting God?

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