Sometimes, you need to learn to let go.
I listened to a podcast on Monday from Pinelake Church, and the theme was “Moving Out.” It was about how we need to let go of the past, both the good things like past successes, and the bad things like hurts and failures. With letting go, we must ask for God to give us a new lens through which we view our past, like Joseph did, as he saw God’s hand in every detail, even when his brothers tried to kill him then sold him into slavery, then how he was arrested, falsely accused, the list could go on. But in the end, when he was face with it all, this is what he said in Genesis 50:19-20,
“‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”
When Joseph took his eyes OFF of the way he thought his life should have gone, and ON to the way God had it planned from the very beginning–everything changed. He was able to see the GOOD in all of the BAD. In dreams that were shattered, in plans that fell through, in blessings he missed out on, in people that hurt him. He was able to see God’s dreams, quite literally, and see God’s plans, and feel God’s blessings, often hidden in disguise, and experience God’s healing. More than those internal effects, he was able to outwardly express it all to his family, the very deepest hurts healed became the bridge to love them again. All because he chose to look through God’s eyes at his past.
I don’t think that this just applies to your past though, although certainly we do need to let go of our past. I think that the way Joseph reached this point in the end was that he also had to let go of his present and his future. In each and every moment, he had to constantly let go and give in to God’s will. He never was given a nifty ten-year plan from God. He just obeyed and followed in the moments he was given. He lived in the moment-looking at it through God’s eyes. He didn’t say, “Well, in two years, this will happen and I’ll be free from this prison.” No, he chose to obey God in those moments that he was in prison, by interpreting dreams for people, even though they would often not give him a second glance. The list could go on for all the things he did simply to let go and give in to God’s will in each & every moment.
So, how do we view our past? Do we mope over what has or hasn’t happened? Or do we praise God for the path He has led us down, even if we cannot understand it all? Are we constantly looking in the rear-view mirror that we run off the road in the here and now?
How do we view our present? As a prison? Waiting for the next thing? Or living in obedience today, in this moment we’ve been given to use for His glory?
And last, how do we view our future? As an adventure that we get to follow the lover of our souls into? As a scary unknown? As a ready-made plan, that we have convinced ourselves of? Are we looking at it too much, that we lose sight of the here and now?
I have on my computer’s background right now a cool picture with an even better quote. It is a picture of the side of a mountain, with the sun peeking from behind it. And the words climb a triangle on it, saying, “I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open.” I think that last part is so important: we so need to keep our hands wide open on this journey, open to what God would pour down on us or remove from us. We must be open to both. We must let go of ourselves and open ourselves to God’s plan. We must not try to wedge what we want to do into His plans or the opposite: attempting to pry His plans into the plan we’ve already mapped out. No. It’s not about us. Remember, we’re the dead ones, He’s the one who is alive IN US, who has made us alive again, a new creation. And the life we now have behind, before, and ahead of us, we live BY FAITH (remember, faith walks not by sight) in Him who loved us & gave Himself up for us.