705) By Faith… (part two of two)

     (…continued)  ‘By Faith,’ is a phrase the Bible often uses.  An often quoted definition of faith is to “Let go and let God.”  Let go of your fears and your anxieties and have the faith to let God take care of you.  It has a nice ring to it, but I was never totally sold on it myself.  Let go and let God do what?-– pay my bills, get the transmission fixed on my car, and mow my lawn when I don’t have time.  I don’t think it will work to let go and let God do any of that.  So let go and let God do what?  That line certainly does not apply to everything.  I still have to pay my bills, make an appointment to get the car fixed, and find time to mow my lawn.  But those are the little things in life, and God has given me the strength and the ability to work through that sort of a to-do list all by myself.  

     But there are other things, bigger things, that do not fit on any to-do list that we are able handle.  Where do I go with my feelings of guilt?  What can I do about my frustration with how fast the years are flying by?  What about the sadness of seeing loved ones dying all around me?  I’ll never get around to fixing those things, because I do not have the strength or the ability or the resources to do so.  It is in these deeper, larger aspects of life that we must ‘Let go and let God.’  Let go and let God carry you through; now and on into the life to come.

     This is illustrated in a story by Father John Powell, a Catholic priest who took some time off to care for his dying mother.  Here’s his story about how that went:

I remember in the last days of my mother’s life I used to carry her up and down the stairs of her home.  Her arthritis was so bad by then she could no long manage the stairs by herself.  As I would carry her up and down the stairs, she would grab onto the railing and hold on so that we could not move.  I would say, “Mom, let go, we can’t move.”  And then she would always say the same thing, “No, I am afraid you will drop me.”  Then I would say again, “No, let go.”  And she would always respond, “No, I am afraid you will drop me.”  Finally, she would let go for a while and we would start to move, and then she would grab the railing again, and it would start all over.  One day, as we were going through our little routine, I thought to myself, “Ah, what a perfect analogy for faith.  God has us in His arms and is saying “Come on, let go,” and we are saying to him, “No, I am afraid you will drop me….”

     That is indeed a wonderful illustration for what it is like to live by faith.  We need faith to face those big things in life, but still we say, “What if none of this is true?  I can’t see God, what if it is just us here on this little earth?  I am so afraid of death.”  So we desperately cling to this life, trying to have it all and do it all here, right now, nervously watching the years slip away on us.  But God is saying, “Just let go.  Take my hand and let me lead you.  Surrender your fears to faith in me, and really let go, you will be fine…”  Let go and let God forgive you.  Let go and let God give you an inner peace even amidst all of life’s outward troubles.  Let go of your fear of death, and let God’s promises give you comfort and hope.  Yes indeed, live to the fullest every day that God gives you now, but be ready when the time comes to let go and trust God that he will make good on his promises for eternal life.

     We have been given this life by God, and we can trust that he is able to give us life again; and so we can indeed, “Let go and let God.”

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I Peter 5:6-7  —  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Hebrews 11:13-16  —  All these people were still living by faith when they died.   They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.  If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country— a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

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