(Republished with permission from Press Service International, for Christian Today Australia )
Our daughter will be starting at the early learning centre soon, and I have been nervous about the many changes this will involve; drop offs and pick ups, lunchbox packing and just the difference of not spending all day together.
JJ Heller’s song, Learning to Let You Go, has lyrics that really tug at my heartstrings, but also remind me that God has a wonderful plan and purpose for my children.
“You were never mine to keep
You were always just on loan
So have a little patience with me
‘Cause I’m learning to let you go”
. . .
Parents of the Bible
On a drive to work one afternoon, I found myself suddenly aware of all the parents in the Bible. Many of these parents let their children go far away and perhaps never even saw what God did with their acts of faith and obedience.
Rebecca agreed to leave her family and land to return with Abraham’s servant to his master’s household. She travelled there to marry Abraham’s son, Isaac, a patriarch of God’s chosen nation, Israel.
Years later, Rebecca sent her favourite son Jacob far away, fearing for his safety after a complex scheme which saw him steal his father’s blessing from his brother. Jacob’s journey and experiences are a testimony of their own, and the promised Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah, one of Jacob’s sons.
Hannah, in her barrenness, cried out to God. God gave her a son, Samuel, and as soon as he was weaned, Hannah brought him back to the temple and gave him into the care of Eli the priest for a life of service to God. Samuel was a notable prophet through whom God spoke, and he was the prophet who annointed King David.
David was still a boy when he found himself transferred into the service of King Saul. Prior to this, he had been faithfully tending his father’s flocks of sheep as the youngest son in the family.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, treasured many mysterious things in her heart as she watched Jesus grow and do what He came to do for humanity at the cross. It must have been painful for her to watch her son endure suffering and death, yet glorious to see Him rise to life and defeat the grave.
All these parents trusted God with what was precious – their children, their lives, and their futures. They dared to trust even in the face of the unknown. This challenges me to consider how much I trust God. Do I really believe He has the best plan for my life, or do I think I know better?
. . .
Are we willing?
I often think of this passage in the book of Matthew:
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew chapter 19, verse 29)
It is so easy to get tied down to things on earth and this verse reminds me to check who and what is ruling my heart. Ultimately, I want God to have His way and I want to live wisely, responsibly, and in worship to Him as I steward what He has placed into my earthly care. I am thankful for all He has given me – the breath of life in my body, basic needs of shelter and food, company and fellowship, the way he sustains me through difficult times. Yet, even knowing how faithful God has been in my life, I catch myself still needing to surrender things to God time and time again.
Am I willing to risk my career, my family, my living comforts, or my reputation for the sake of the gospel? Am I willing to relax my control and let God direct my decisions? Do I trust God to lead, protect and give the fullness of life He has promised, and am I willing to surrender my life fully to Him?
. . .
A freedom to be found
Letting go and surrendering to God can feel scary and uncomfortable, but it also gives a comforting peace. When I try to control every outcome myself, I get anxious. Many things are simply out of our control and we can choose whether to fight a losing battle to keep that control, or to surrender them to the One who is perfect in person and plans. I have peace when I surrender to God because I know that He is completely good and that He has a plan and purpose for my life.
“For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah chapter 29, verse 11)
Instead of fear, let us have confidence since we know that everything is under God’s good leadership. Instead of battling to control every outcome, let us surrender to God and enjoy the peace of knowing He always has a plan. Instead of being consumed with worry about how our lives or our children’s lives will turn out, let us allow God to steer us in His way.
God let us go so that we could have free will. Will we choose to trust and let Him lead?