The Liberation of Letting Go

Laura Johnston

Sometimes you see a quote that just sticks with you! This one was on a fridge magnet in my house growing up, it isn’t deep or profound, but still, a gentle reminder of a simple truth. Picture this… a lion with a big, fuzzy mane and this text … “God put hair on your head to remind you that you can’t be in control of everything!”

I’ve never been someone who has to be in control or understand everything, but I have been known to ask “why” a lot! Ask my parents…  apparently, it started young! I admit, the “why” sometimes came from a place of stubbornness, but honestly most of the time, I just wanted to understand. How are certain conclusions reached? Why do people say the things they say and do the things they do?

As humans, we long to understand, we question, we like to give meaningful commentaries, we desire knowledge, logical explanations. This in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but as a Christian, I find that there can be tension between all of this, and letting God be God. Letting go. Trusting. Having child-like faith in the face of circumstances that don’t in our eyes make sense.

This is why Paul says, “The Gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing…” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31 for full context). A stumbling block for many, is this whole idea of believing something when we can’t answer every question and understand why everything happens the way it does. Why did God say this? How can God do that? It seems crazy, because faith, “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see”, is contrary to the human nature. The world teaches that truth is what we see and can explain, yet God teaches, “walk by faith and not by sight”.

There is no doubt about it, God desires that we know him more. Asking questions is totally okay! After all, that’s how you get to know someone. But then, we have to listen to the answers that God gives and not filter out the things that we don’t understand, or ignore the things that make us uncomfortable. God wants us to know Him. God wants us to know all of Him, even the parts that don’t fit in our God-shaped boxes. He wants us to know His character and to trust who He says that He is, not who we think He should be.

I recently heard someone say that God’s justice system isn’t based on our justice system and there’s danger in trying to decide what God should and shouldn’t be doing based on our own understanding. This is so true. Even within the church, we are constantly changing theology to fit our ideals and our way of doing things.

We can be sure of this… God will never do anything against His nature or against His Word, so even when we don’t understand, we can trust in the promises found in Scripture. For example, He is good. His love endures forever. His Word will not return void. He is our healer. He is our shield. He is compassionate. He is Holy. He is with us in the storms. He has overcome the world and conquered the grave.

In Isaiah 55 the Lord declares, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways… As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

I have personally found such liberation in letting go and simply trusting who He is and not letting my faith be shaken by external circumstances. I’m not saying this is always easy, but in His strength, it is possible! When we don’t understand, it’s okay, because God is still God, He is still good and His Word hasn’t changed.

To end this blog on a similar note to how it started, let’s go back to the picture of the lion with the fury mane. My favourite lion has to be Aslan from Narnia! If you’ve read C.S Lewis’ books, you’ll know the profound depth to his writing and the clear parallel between his stories and the message of the Gospel. You may remember the scene where Lucy and Susan awake in the night to find Aslan alone walking into the woods. Lucy and Susan asked if they could walk with Aslan to keep him company, not realising at the time that Aslan was knowingly about to give his life as a ransom for Edmund (their brother) and those who were being held captive by the White Witch. Soon, Aslan told the girls that he must go the rest of the way alone, but that they must trust him. As Susan and Lucy saw him tied up, beaten and killed by the witch, nothing made sense. It seemed like darkness was prevailing. It felt like they’d been left alone. In the end, they had to let go and Susan exclaimed that he must have known what he was doing. Sure enough, he did! He was resurrected and because of the sacrifice, he defeated the witch and all the powers of darkness. Sound familiar?

His ways are higher.

He knows the end from the beginning.

He determines the right from the wrong.

There is liberation when we let go of our own understanding and cling to the promises of God, not leaning on our own understanding and ideals, but trusting in the truth and authority of His Word.

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