Letting go and letting God is one of the hardest actions required in the Christian faith. This is especially true when life seems to be spinning out of control.
A friend of mine said he was with his daughter at a bank drive thru recently, and all four lanes were filled with long lines of cars waiting their turn. My friend said it was obvious that the man in the car behind them was getting angrier and angrier at how slow the lines were moving, as he pounded his steering wheel, made hand gestures out the window that left little to the imagination, and seemed to be screaming at everyone in the line ahead of him. My friend turned to his daughter and asked, “Why do you think the man behind us is so upset?” And she said, “I don’t know, Daddy, because there isn’t anything he can do about it.”
Amen. If I’m being honest, I have to tell you that at times I have gotten pretty upset about the COVID-19 Pandemic. Why, O God? The loss of life. The families affected. Our economy limping along. So many who have lost their jobs. The disruption to millions of students. I feel like the man in the long line at the bank. I want to pound the steering wheel. I want to yell out my frustrations. And then I remember what my friend’s daughter said, “I don’t know why he’s getting so mad, because there isn’t anything he can do about it.”
One thing I can do, however, is let go and let God. More than a cliché or a trite little Christian-eze, this captures the truth of the path forward for all of us. It’s reflective of the words found in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
It’s not easy to trust, but if we ever hope to find peace and joy, trust we must. Henri Nouwen tells the story of a group of trapeze artists called the Flying Rodleigh’s. As he sat with Rodleigh, the leader of the troupe, he asked him how the exchange between the flyer and catcher worked. Rodleigh responded, “The secret is that the flyer does nothing and the catcher does everything. . . . A flyer must fly, and a catcher must catch, and the flyer must trust, with outstretched arms, that his catcher will be there for him.”
Later, Nouwen reflected on Rodleigh’s words and wrote, “When Rodleigh said this with so much conviction, the words of Jesus on the Cross flashed through my mind: `Father into your hands I commend my Spirit.’ For us it means trusting in the catcher. Don’t be afraid. Remember that you are the beloved child of God. He will be there when you make your long jump. Don’t try to grab him; he will grab you. Just stretch out your arms and hands and trust, trust, trust.”
Job 11:13 puts it like this, “If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him.” I encourage you this day to stretch out your hands toward God. Let go and let God. “Don’t try to grab Him; He will grab you. Just stretch out your arms and hands and trust, trust, trust.”