A Journey to Becoming a Woman of Faith

Don’t Let Go

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Ever since Elsa danced into our lives in Disney’s hit Frozen, people have been singing the song, “let it go”. How many times have you heard you need to “let go of your bitterness”, “let go of your fear, let go of your insecurities, let go of your need to control….. The challenge to “let go” is one that is a common encouragement for Christ followers, but why do we need to “let go” of some things? The simple truth is when we hang on to things like past hurts, worries about the future, lies about our significance…. our emotions and attitudes can become toxic. Like a disease in the body, these things can hang around and cause all sorts of havoc. So, the answer is to give them to Jesus. With open hands we surrender the things that we have been holding onto into the hands of the master. Jesus is strong enough, big enough, powerful enough and In Matthew 11, Jesus spelled out how we are to do this:

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Coming to Jesus, resting in His love gives us freedom from our burdens. We “let go” of the things that are heavy on us by transferring them to Jesus and we experience healing.

But wait! It is easy to see the need for “letting go” but let’s flip the switch. What if I told you that the key to finding rest is to “NOT let go!!” Consider for a minute you are in a lake and have lost your strength, someone throws you a life preserver and says “hang on”. This is clearly a time when you will agree that the answer is to “NOT LET GO.” From a spiritual perspective this concept is crucial. Sometimes in life we have things we need to let go of, but sometimes we have things that are surrounding us. (like the lake) These things can feel unsurmountable. In fact, they are things out of our control and we have only one choice. “Hang on”. You see, Jesus is our life preserver! In deepest valleys and darkest pits, He is our ANCHOR.

The writer of Hebrews explains it this way in his discussion of Jesus: 19We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. (6:19)

Jesus is our HOPE; he is the one we hang onto when life is tough, when things are simply too much for us to handle! This sounds good in theory but how do we do it? We do it by fixing our eyes (and our hearts) on him. To get practical, let’s take a look at a man who found himself surrounded by “water”.

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:22-33)

This is a great story with lots of wonderful truths, but the main element I want to hone in on is verses 29-30. Jesus told Peter to “come” and Peter got out of the boat and literally walked on water! He was doing fine cruising along on the water as he walked toward Jesus until he looked around and saw the “wind”. As soon as he focused on the wind, he became afraid, but Jesus reached out his hand and caught him and called him out for his doubting. Now, none of us should blame Peter. I mean no one had ever walked on water before, but the key here was that instead of focusing on Jesus, the one who could calm the seas, Peter focused on the storm and in essence, let go of his “life preserver”. Let’s key in on one other important truth here and that is, when Peter began to sink, Jesus “immediately” was there to save Peter. He didn’t leave him alone in his fears and lack of faith; Jesus grabbed hold of Peter and brought him into safety! This is what it means to have Jesus as your savior. He pulls us out of the water and gives us solid ground to stand on! His purpose on this earth was to carry out the greatest rescue mission ever; all we have to do is grab his hand!

When we look around us, it’s easy to get discouraged by the “wind and waves” of life! Maybe you find yourself in an impossible situation and feel helpless and without hope. Maybe you are in a place where you are surrounded by circumstances and situations where you feel out of control! Maybe you feel afraid because you are focusing on the “wind and waves” and you are starting to sink! Maybe it is time for you to grab onto Jesus or rather let him grab onto you, and just “DON’T LET GO”!

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