You know what one thing is really, really difficult to do? (Besides getting up with the alarm clock every morning) Letting go of something that is mine. Shockingly, it’s not just a problem four year old’s have, we “big kids” have it too. Whether it be my expectations, my plans (like we talked about last week), my stuff, my goals, my money, my time, my control, my relationships, or people who I deem belong to me…I don’t want God, or anyone else touching it. It’s mine. It’s all right there in my tightly clenched fist, hanging on to it all for dear life.
There’s a fairly decent problem with that though, it’s not how life works. Expectations are disappointed, plans change, stuff gets destroyed, money…(umm what money?), relationships fail, people change, move away, fail us, and sometimes even die. Have you ever tried to pry something out of your child’s hand that they shouldn’t have? It hurts them a lot worse to have their fingers pulled apart and the thing extracted than if they just let go. You remember playing tug-a-war as kid? If you were ever unlucky enough to be on the losing side, you probably remember that feeling of the rope sliding through your hand and dragging you along. Rope burns are no fun. Funny thing about them though, they don’t happen if you let go of the rope. Hanging on so tightly to all those things that are dearly important to me only hurts me when it’s time for them to go. Isn’t it better to trust that God knows my needs better than I do? Not to say that nothing will ever bring pain when it is taken away, but that aching effort to hang on will be gone.
Besides it hurting a lot worse when a clenched hand has to be pried apart, there’s something else that hurts a clenched hand. Nothing new can be placed into the hand that is clenched. I tried giving some m&m’s to my two year old the other day. She was so excited that after being given two, she squeezed her little fist tightly around them. Two was all she got…because she wouldn’t open her hand to get more. How often do I miss out on what God is trying to give me, because I am stubbornly grasping the things I already have?
Interestingly, the Christmas story itself is all about having an open hand. Mary had to let go of all her plans and ideas to trust that the baby she was going to have was what God wanted for her. Joseph had to let go of his expectations of a “normal” family. God Himself set the example of an open hand by letting go of His Son for us. Jesus let go of His life for us. From start to finish, you and I can have a secured life and eternity, all because of an open hand. There’s such peace in learning to open that hand, to be grateful for what I have, and to know that nothing is permanent. If you are anything like me, it’s something I have to do every day, and sometimes multiple times a day!
A great deal is made of “living in the moment” in songs, movies, books, etc,. Choosing to open my hand, and let God worry with all the details of my life is one of the best ways to do just that!
Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.