Jump Start # 2599
Psalms 46:10 “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Sometimes a person just has to love the plain, bold and even, ‘in your face’ language that we find in Scriptures. It’s like a “Stop Sign” in life. Our verse today is an example of this.
“Cease striving” is also translated, “Be still.” You can hear a school teacher trying to quiet down her classroom so she can teach. You can hear a mom trying to get the kids quiet so she can talk on the phone. And here, God is trying to get us to simply be still. The New American Standard footnotes this “Cease striving,” with, “let go, relax.” Let go.
First, we need to let go of trying to run the universe. We can’t do it. It’s overwhelming to us and that’s God’s job. So, “let go.” With this comes trying to figure out why everything happened. We are always looking backwards rather than forward. Why did I get cancer? Why did I not see that coming? Why this and why that? Somehow if we knew the “whys” to everything, that would bring comfort to us. It wouldn’t. It just stacks on more grief, more guilt and more stress. Let God run things. Pray. Trust. Believe.
Second, let go of worry. This is a natural consequence of the first point. Trying to figure things out leads to worry. And, worry never accomplishes anything. It always takes. It steals a good nights sleep. It steals our faith. It steals our joy. It steals our peace of mind. We worry and worry and worry about so many things. Peter said, “casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” Casting. Throwing off. Or, in the context of this article, “letting go.” We’ll show God what bothers us, but we want to hold on to it. We will talk to God about what troubles us. But we have a hard time giving those things to God. We want to hold on to them. We want to keep them. Let go, is what our passage teaches.
Third, let go of trying to fix every problem in every person. That’s hard for many of us. It’s hard for me. I have so many that pour their hearts out to me and I feel like they need something from me. So, I try to fix things. And, guess what happens when you can’t? You worry. And, here we go again. Some problems we cannot fix. Some problems only God can fix. Some problems are up to the people involved to fix. We can listen. We can give advice. But like the passage says, we must “let go.” We can teach others. We can influence others. We can show others. But we cannot change another person. They must do that on their own. And, you will learn that some people would rather talk about the mess than do something about it. Not everyone comes to their senses and leaves the pigs as the prodigal did. Some will talk about the smell of pigs. Some will talk about how dirty pigs are. We hear these things and think, “then get out of the pig pen.” But, they don’t. They stay there. It’s beyond all reason and sense. It can drive us crazy. But as long as they stay there, there is not much you can do. Some stay so they have something to complain about. If they can’t complain, then they can’t talk. You can’t fix every problem. Let it go.
And, let me add to this, we can’t fix all the church problems in the brotherhood. I’m not sure if that is even our responsibility. This social distancing and staying home has led to many folks becoming very bossy and judgmental toward others on social media. My focus needs to be with the congregation I am a part of. I may give advice to another place if I am asked, but it’s up to them to do what they do. They may do things differently than the way we do things. That will be up to them and God. We can get too caught up in what others are doing, not knowing all the factors, history or issues at hand, and make judgments that do more harm than good. The Bible teaches us to “love the brotherhood” not fix it. Problems are a lot like cars traveling towards each other at night. The other guy’s headlights seem brighter than yours. We see everyone’s problems but our own. Let go.
Fourth, we need to let go of pride, selfishness and the things that keeps us from being like Jesus. We can’t change others, but we can certainly change ourselves. It’s a lot harder to work on yourself than others. But this is where our focus and attention needs to be. How is your attitude? How is your outlook? Are you growing inpatient with others? Are you more testy and irritable? Are you standing next to the Lord where He wants you to be? Don’t blame the current storm. Don’t blame social distancing. Don’t blame the gloom and doom of the nightly news. If it were not those things, it’d likely be something else. Let go of what doesn’t belong in you.
There is more to just letting go. Our verse reminds us to know that He is God. He is powerful. He is everywhere. He is good. There is nothing you know that He doesn’t already know. There are things He sees that you cannot. There are things He is doing that you do not understand. Cease striving and know. Let go and trust. It will be ok because He is God.
Running through my mind as I write this is that Disney song from Frozen, “Let it go.” Let go of past hurts, bad feelings, and ways others let you down. Don’t keep track of those things. Don’t keep a score card. God’s definition of love in 1 Cor 13 says that love does not take into account a wrong suffered. One translator put it this way, “Love doesn’t keep score.” Do you know the language of score keeping? “You never…” Never. They have kept track. They have kept the score. Or, “You always…” Always. That’s score keeping. Love doesn’t keep the score. Love lets go.
Let go…pry your fingers off. Don’t look back. Don’t hold your hands out to try to take it back. Let it go and let God have things.