Here is the story of a climber, determined to reach the summit of a high mountain. After years of preparation, he began his adventure. Only he journeyed alone, because he wanted all the glory. He began his ascent, and as daylight faded, he decided to continue until night fell.
The night fell heavy as he was overcome by total darkness. The moonlight and starlight were hidden within the clouds. There was zero visibility. He was only a few yards away from the summit when he slipped climbing a ridge and fell off, falling at a frightening speed. While falling, he could only see shadow-like figures in the darkness and felt the tug of gravity sucking him down. In those anguishing moments, he saw his life pass before his eyes.
He thought death was near when suddenly he felt the tightening of the rope around his waist that tied him to a nail embedded in the rock wall of the mountain.
In desperation, suspended in mid-air, he screams “GOD, please Help me!”
Then unexpectedly, a deep voice from heaven responds: “What would you have me do?”
He replies, “Save me!”
“Do you really think I can save you?”
“Of course, my Lord.”
“Well then, cut the rope.”
There was a moment of silence, and then the man tightened the rope around his waist.
The mountain rescue team tells a story of a man they found frozen to death, his hands wrapped firmly around a rope tied to his waist…hanging two feet from the ground.
I’m not sure where I first read this little parable, but I think of it frequently. If you’re anything like me, the entire concept of “letting go” is one that borders on the impossible. We are the unfortunate souls that complicate our own lives by grabbing hold of the steering wheel (of life) and white-knuckling our way through virtually every situation. We know the destination that WE want, and come heaven or hell, we’re going to do everything we can to ensure that we reach it.
Although that’s not always the plans that God has for us, and that’s where “letting go” becomes a necessary exercise in faith and trust. And I’m the first to raise my hand say that I’m AWFUL at this.
We have two conclusions to our situation: one is good, and one is bad. Obviously we aim for the good conclusion. We pray for it. We put in the work to reach it, and we tirelessly seek the good conclusion. But sometimes, we are not destined for that conclusion despite our efforts. We arrive at the “bad” conclusion, and we are distraught. It could be an illness, a broken marriage, or a rebellious child. No matter how badly we want issues such as these to resolve in the “good”, sometimes they don’t. And we may never know the WHY, but God had it written that our stories would play out in ways that we don’t desire.
So what are we to do? Well, unfortunately, the answer is simple: LET GO.
I read a little quote the other day that said “I was very sad that I didn’t have shoes and then I met a man with no feet.” The act of “letting go” is one that calls us to simply rejoice in our blessings, in the MIDST of our troubles. You lost someone important to you due to a disease, so rejoice in the time that you did have. You lost your marriage, but rejoice in your children. Your finances are wiped out, so rejoice in the fact that you have friends that are helping you get back on your feet.
Every instance of our lives leaves room for rejoicing. Is it easy? No. We want to mourn our present circumstances (and perhaps there is a time for that), but there is also a time to praise God for the blessings that we have.
I’ve been through this current exercise of late, and one thing that’s helping me is that I keep trying to picture myself on the other side of my trial. Would I hope that I spent countless hours wringing my hands over the issue and drive myself to near hysteria with anxiety only to ultimately end up where God wanted me? Or would I hope that I prayed earnestly for God’s wisdom, trusted His plan, stayed calm, and then stood at the conclusion in the exact spot that He wanted me (even if it’s not where I wanted to be)?
We both know the answer.
Let go of your fears. Let go of your control. Breathe slowly. Pray like never before. Find the peace that He wants for you.
And most of all, REJOICE.