Have you ever been asked by God to let something go? Maybe there were big changes happening in your life and it meant letting go of relationships. Perhaps it was a promotion at work that you desired greatly but because of the season your family was in it wouldn’t work out. Maybe you had to let go of a loved one because of sickness. The list could be extensive.
For the Rich Young Ruler it was his power and possessions. For Abraham, it was Isaac. The disciples had to leave behind their livelihood, which was lucrative at the time, and their families. Paul left behind his prestige. Stephen was asked to give up his life.
In the case of Abraham, God was looking for obedience, the willingness to do something terrifying and yet trust Him in it. I believe that the Rich Young Ruler was in the same boat, he was asked if he was willing and walked away disappointed because his heart was, in fact, not willing to give it all up for God.
I could say, all that He asks is willingness; He won’t actually require you to release whatever it is, He’ll provide the lamb in the thicket. I could say that, and in many cases, I’m sure that’s what He wants, but I’d be lying if that is the case in all situations. Sometimes the sacrifice was required: they actually had to be willing to let it go and watch as it drifted away. The disciples, Paul, and Stephen are just a few examples of that. Matthew 26:39 says, “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me, Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” Even Jesus, the Son of God, was asked to willingly surrender to His Father’s plan. He was asked to give up his life on earth.
A few weeks ago, while I was yet again praying for something that I wanted so badly and yet seemed so far out of reach, God showed me my gripped hand. It was closed so tightly, my knuckles were white. As I this picture played in my mind, my fingers opened slowly, and the wind began to gently blow away whatever was in my open hand. I felt as though there was great freedom in that act, that I was no longer striving to try to bring about results of any kind. It was as if God was showing me that my willingness to let go of everything I thought I wanted would yield peace as He brought about everything He knows I need.
In my lifetime, I’ve been asked to give up things that I held dear to me. Sometimes I had to watch things drift away and sometimes I was surprised to find that my willingness brought me exactly what my heart desired. I wanted to be a Mom so badly, and it seemed as though it would never happen.
Two weeks after I fell by my bed and gave that desire to God, asking Him to take it away, to replace it with peace even though there were no babies, we found out we were expecting our first. At the same time, when we found out our daughter was to be born with a severe heart defect, he didn’t rescue us from it, He blessed us immensely through it. And continues to do so. Only two examples, with different paths, but the same outcome. God saw us through. He gave us more than we could have imagined it just didn’t come about in the way we would’ve chosen. Of course, we would’ve preferred the path of zero sacrifice.
In each of those things that I had to release from my grip, God replaced the space in my heart with something so much sweeter than I could’ve imagined. If He required the sacrifice and not just the willing heart, He was faithful to fill my brokenness with beauty again. Open your hand and release to Him everything that’s in there and see what He lovingly bestows upon you. Embrace it, learn through it, grow because you’ve experienced it.