Most of the inspirational messages I read these days exhorts us to let go and let God. My morning reading consists of “My Utmost For His Highest” by Oswald Chambers and “TGIF” (Today God Is First), by Os Hillman. The theme is almost always the importance of our faith being strong enough to let go of earthly desires in order to focus on pursuing God Himself. In other words, getting to know Him rather than what He can do for us.
When I sat down to write this weeks post, the image I had in mind was a man holding tightly to the reins of a horse hitched to his wagon. I sensed the horse wanted to bolt forward and the farmer had to hold the reins tightly in order to keep the journey under control.
Yet in God’s economy, in order to keep the journey under control; we are asked to let go of the reins and let God control. The paradox is that for us believers, control is the act of dropping the reins and following the leading of the Lord.
Cruise Control. . .
I remember vividly when new cars came out with cruise control. The thought of setting the engine to cruising speed and taking my foot off the gas peddle resulted in sweaty extremities. I handled it by simply refusing to use cruise control. My daughters laughed at me and friends derided my fear of letting go of control of the gas pedal. (I admit that although I now use cruise control in good weather; I won’t surrender control in the rain, snow or ice. I’ve grown brave; but not that brave.)
Life in the Lord is much like getting used to cruise control. And because our humanity is hitched to a controlling nature; we are apt to not let go unless Papa God pries our hands from the wheel and ties them behind our backs!
Yet without permitting Him to do so; our spiritual growth will be stunted. More importantly, we will never become the woman He has designed us to be!
First One Hand, Then the Other. . .
“In this life we will have tribulation”.
That’s what we’re promised in the Scripture. Little do we realize that much of the tribulation is the design of a loving Heavenly Father who knows to get our attention, as well as our compliance; He must turn to drastic measures. He must pry one of the frightened farmer’s hands from the reins and then the other before taking control. Yet we can’t see Him, so trust is blind and we are not good with ‘blind’.
Faith is the substance of trust. As our faith grows; so does our ability to let go and trust. But in the beginning, trust is truly blind and fear feels much weightier than faith!
“Go & Tell Him!”
It was a beautiful May morning, and I had just emerged from the first encounter with the Lord. It was overwhelming to say the least and one I wanted to hang onto for the rest of my life. But that’s now how He works.
“Go and tell him!” The Voice in my head was unmistakably the Lord. I could not deny that. And I knew what He was asking this newly baptized-in-the-Spirit child of His. But I was timid and didn’t want to go and tell friend what had just happened. I came up with my first excuse in the face of God almighty.
“He’s saying Mass,” I argued. Silence. . .
“Go and tell him!” There was more insistence with the 2nd request. I had to find another excuse in order to avoid being obedient.
“I’m scared to tell him,” I honestly responded. More silence. . .
“Go and tell him!” This time I knew that I had to obey. Not compelled to do so; but a knowledge that if I didn’t, I would lose the closeness I felt the moments before as His Spirit overwhelmed me. So I picked up my Bible and headed out for the church to “tell him”.
What The. . . Lord?
The outcome of going to tell him was friend finally said I had a real religious experience and that I needed to go home and take a nap because it was a late return from Cincinnati the evening before.
“He didn’t believe me”, I cried on the way back home. The Voice Who had told me to go and tell him gave me my first glimpse into how life would be from that point on.
“I didn’t say he would; I simply asked you to go and tell him!”
The first step in faith had nothing to do with Dad’s request; but everything to do with obedience. Training me to be obedient. Getting my attention with the silence that followed each gentle but firm, ask. Much like getting me to push the “set” button on the cruise control. Patience and silence; knowing eventually after I had run out of excuses, I would do as asked.
From those early days of walking with Heavenly Dad, I have learned that life in Him is full of paradoxes that make more sense than what the natural life makes.
In order to be an obedient daughter, willing to trust him in faith; I must let go. That in order to hold onto the life I covet in Him; I must be willing to let it go. I must let Him test everything I thought was truth in order to let His truth be my reality.
As I finish this post, I see the farmer perched on the seat of his wagon; his hands holding the reins loosely in his lap. His horse saunters up the road under the leadership of an unseen Master who has the controls all to Himself. It’s a scene of peace. One that reminds me that to hold on, we must learn to let go.
Question: Have you learned to place the reins of your life in the Hands of Him whose unseen leadership you have come to trust? If not, let go and hand Him the reins! Then hold on for the journey of a lifetime. . .
Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed, CEO & Visionary Partner
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