Saturday, March 17, 2012

The (HE)ART of Letting Go

(originally written July 4, 2011)

It is not easy to let go. It gets even more difficult when it requires you to release your grip over the very thing that occupies a big space in your heart – something (or someone) you hold so dear and have waited for all your life.

A man named Abraham knew this very well. He had a son: Isaac, the fulfillment of God’s promise - a miracle, a special gift! Yet, the Lord once asked Abraham to offer Isaac to Him as a sacrifice. The Bible (story in Genesis 22:1-19) tells us that the man obeyed immediately without question. Abraham reasoned that even if he would offer Isaac, God could bring him back to life.

But I feel like something is missing here: the story didn’t include a description of Abraham’s feelings. Did Abraham have mixed emotions over what God asked him to do? Did he feel sad? Afraid? Confused? Hesitant? Uncertain? Did he struggle to let go?

I think the absence of the emotional aspect of Abraham’s story is a message in itself. Obedience may demand taking your attention away from your feelings and directing it towards the character and power of God.

Abraham’s faith brought his feet to the mountain, where he would sacrifice his most cherished gift. He was so certain that God would come through for him. This certainty gave him the courage to obey.

It is lack of faith that makes letting go difficult. Unbelief teaches you to hold on too tightly to something or someone because the future is so scarily uncertain. Lack of faith and unbelief operate only on what is seen and felt. And most often, what is visible only concerns the “here and now” and what you feel keeps you from seeing, by faith, the future and endless possibilities.

Letting go becomes an act of worship when the motivation is to obey God and yield to His way. It means willingly placing anything at the altar because only God matters and you love Him above all. It is NOT dwelling on what you will sacrifice or give up. Doing so will definitely make you very emotional – to your disadvantage. The focus should be on who God is. In Abraham’s case, he experienced the reality of God as a faithful provider, at just the right place and time.

The heart of letting go is unwavering faith in God, His character and power. You let go and yes, you may feel the pain of loss for a moment. But don’t dwell on your emotions. You let go but you never give up hope in a God who is worthy of our complete trust. Abraham’s hope was shining so brightly. It was a hope fulfilled because he didn't lose Isaac and he pleased God by his worshipful obedience. By faith, he did not withhold something he loved so much from God. His hope sprang from his experiences of God’s faithfulness. His faith was based on God's character and power to keep His promises!

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for He who promised is faithful!” Hebrews 10:23

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