“What are you holding in your hands that you can’t let go?” I heard a recent sermon that asked this question. The conclusion was that we need to learn to hold everything that is in our hands loosely. This was a particularly poignant message as we had to “let go” of one of our friends from our church family just the other day. An unexpected relinquishment of a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who had been ill for quite some time, but things seemed to be getting better for him.
As I put my arms around his wife and she collapsed into broken sobs of despair, I realized again that one day we will all need to “let go” of everything we hold in our hands and in our hearts. If we have our God to hold on to, and know that He is holding on to us, we can walk through those times of “letting go” a bit easier . . . although it will always be a time of great pain and sorrow, but we are not without hope.
In the midst of our days on earth, in the face of loss, we will all journey through the valley of grief and agony of spirit. That is normal, and grief has its own time line. If we love deeply we will grieve deeply over the loss of those we hold dear to our hearts. I have heard, and experienced in my own small way, that “love becomes a wound that bleeds.” You know this is true if you have lost someone who is a part of your very being, your soul, and your self.
But we know from God’s Word that this life on earth is only temporary and that those who have believed and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation, will live eternally in His presence. There is coming a day when all tears shall be dried, there will be no more sorrow, no more pain, and no more death. But that is hard to imagine in our moments of deepest grief.
Today, I choose to focus on what God has given and not on what other people have taken away. I choose to hold tightly to His promises for restoration, redemption, and salvation. And I choose to accept the reality that I must develop the “art of letting go.”
I’ve often said, “If I was going to die of a broken heart, that would have happened a long time ago,” but in truth I believe that people can actually die from a broken heart. In the midst of the most crushing grief, we must remember that God will uphold us through it all, and He will give us hope so that we can learn to live again, to love again, and to seek His blessings. It is not easy, but it is possible.
The reality is that people have lived without an overabundance of material possessions throughout history. Many people, even today, live without the basic necessities of life. They struggle to find food, water, clothing, and shelter. When given the opportunity, we should consider sharing out of our abundance with those in need. There are many ways to do that, through charitable giving to volunteering at a local homeless shelter, to sponsoring a child in a third-world country, to adopting or providing foster care for orphans, among others.
But we can only do that if we learn the “art of letting go.” For some of us that begins right here at home, taking time and investing the energy needed to “let go” of some of the excess “stuff” in our homes, the hurtful resentments and grudges from an unforgiving heart, and the overwhelming time commitments that many of us struggle with.
I know some of you are thinking right now about the scene in “Frozen” where we are reminded to “Let it go.” But this is serious business! It’s time to reevaluate all of those things that are in our hands that we think we can’t live without. We need to examine our commitments, our values, and our possessions and turn it all over to God to do with as He chooses. We need to give Him our time, our finances, our possessions, our heart, our family, our home, and our whole being. If we let it go, God will redeem it, just as He did with Job: The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first . . .
So, this week as we are sorting through piles of accumulated stuff that somehow finds its way into our house – when we moved into this house lots of boxes of “stuff” were just piled up in the garage waiting for the day when we would finally get around to looking at it again – I am reminded that I need to work on developing the “art of letting go.” After all, if all that “stuff” has been sitting in a box in the back of the garage for two years, what are the chances that I will EVER actually, really, truly NEED it?
And on closer inspection, I need to look into my heart and I’m sure I’ll find plenty of “stuff” in there that I need to get rid of, too. I’m pretty convinced that getting rid of excess baggage, either in our homes or in our hearts, will bring a sense of peace or order that will then be a good place for us to seek God’s presence, where we can hear His voice, and we can learn to depend on Him, and trust Him for the inevitable day when we will need to face more difficult losses.
Can we let it go? If we start now to clear out everything that is distracting us from seeking and walking with God, when that day comes, we will be so much better prepared to let our most treasured possession go, knowing God will keep His promises and although we might be “struck down . . . but we are not destroyed.” How are you doing on letting go? It’s not easy, but you will truly find God’s presence in the quiet, even in those moments of deepest despair, and you will know that He offers hope to the broken hearted.
I wish for you this summer, and all year long, the joy of His presence and the peace of His promises. I wish you times of reflection and heart-examination, and I wish for you the courage and the determination to “let go” of everything that is hindering you as you strive to walk with Him every day.