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There is a phrase that irks me. It always has, though I used to pretend I understood it and all its uber-spiritual implications. But I don’t. In fact, I find myself brimming with loathsomeness—yes, extreme hatred—at its very mention. Especially when venting (read: whining) to Superman and he says…
“Let it go.”
I know, horrible, isn’t it? Aren’t we Christians supposed to own the rights to that phrase—or its more overtly Christian cousin, “Let Go and Let God”? And don’t we have the super-natural ability to invoke its peace-giving power at the first sign of emotional unrest? I must have been driving some kid to a sports practice the day the Holy Spirit was handing out Let it Go cards, because I have no earthly idea how to “let it go” or “let go and let God,” either one.
Thankfully, His mercy endureth forever.
Recently, I joined a group of beautiful women on Wednesday evenings for Bible study. We come into the church library—some of us disheveled, some of us late, some of us with our dinner in our hands; all of us filled to the eyeballs with our busy lives and feeling the heaviness of our many hats. I could never crack our study’s pages and feel better just being amongst them. I know I am not alone. My days are crazy, but so are theirs’. I carry the weight of the world—or at least of my family—and so do they. We are pressed in on at all sides, yet somehow by Grace Divine, we are not crushed. It is a good place to be on a Wednesday evening.
We are studying the life of Gideon from the book of Judges, with the help of Priscilla Shirer’s study, Gideon: Your weakness. God’s Strength. Last week she was walking us through the part of Gideon’s story where God instructs him to dwindle the size of his already meager army (by comparison to the enemy’s) from 32,000 to a mere 300 men. Then…
The LORD said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men—so let the other people go.”     –Judges 7:7
So often I read stories from Scripture and just gloss over the absolute audacity of what God is asking the person to do, assuming that person is considering his or her situation from my point of view—that of victory already established. But in Gideon’s case, it would be 300 against 135,000. As Mrs. Shirer noted, that’s 450 to 1.
Here is another example of a person whose view I have never deeply considered until Shirer had us study her as being similar to Gideon’s 300: the widow at Zarephath (1 Kings 17:8-16)….
Then the word of the Lord came to [Elijah]: “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.
Can you imagine some stranger, knocking at your door, asking for every last penny in your bank accounts, life savings, children’s college funds, etc.; promising you if you will just provide for his family’s needs first your finances will forever be secure.
I wonder if the widow was prone to eye rolling, too?
But wait….
The widow and her son were starving to death whether they had that one last meal or not. What did it matter? Why not just let it go, releasing what God was asking her to give Him, so He could multiply it for her good?
I was scrawling notes in the margins of the study, enthralled with this new-found view of the widow’s story, considering again Gideon’s 300, and slowly becoming enlightened to my own lack as divine appointment. That is when I noticed I had written these words:
She could let go because there wasn’t enough to begin with…God can only multiply what I let go of…”
Wait a minute. What did I just write? What’s the title of this day’s study, anyway?
I turned back two pages and read in all caps: DAY 4: LETTING GO
With proverbial egg on my face, I grinned at myself and the Holy Spirit within, thinking for the first time in forever I might just be learning to let it go.
How about you? Any pet peeve phrases or popular lines you just can’t seem to grasp?