Letting it go I have found is one of the hardest things for humans to do. First we find it difficult to let go of hurts, and then we find it difficult to let go of moments when things were all right, forgetting that it’s okay to have memories but life goes on and allows you to create more memories. For example, I have heard Christians lament the fact that they ‘had’ such a wonderful experience with God one time. I would like to encourage you to remember that God’s grace is NEW every morning. Stop living on expired grace trying to capture the same feeling or experience. God is a dynamic God and He has something new in store for you every day, but you have to be open to receive it.
As a Social Worker in training, I have learnt that people need to own their pain and fears until they feel strong enough to let them go and move on. No one can force another to let go…whether of something good, something good gone bad, or something bad gone worse. It is however, important to remember that as we travel along life’s journey we will find that just as our faces are different, so are our strengths and weaknesses and this lends itself to us being more understanding of those who experience difficulty letting go.
I lost my mom almost 30 years ago. It was only as recent as about two years ago that I stopped feeling guilty that I was not there when she died, especially as with her dying breath she called for me. The messengers came to my home in town, but I was visiting in the country with my husband. I do not think anyone can begin to imagine the pain, the sense of betrayal and the guilt I have been carrying when I learnt that she only died after she was informed that they could not find me.
For years I suffered! I kept begging God to forgive me for letting her down at a moment when she needed me so badly. But the guilt weighed me down and negatively affected relationship. Then I told myself that I needed to forgive myself. But that did not work either. It didn’t work because God has not asked us to forgive ourselves. He has asked us to forgive those who hurt us but we ourselves must seek His forgiveness. He will instruct us to go to a brother or sister and seek their forgiveness if we have hurt them, and sometimes even if they are the ones who have hurt us. But He has never asked us to forgive ourselves. If we could forgive ourselves, what need then would we have of Him who alone can save?
So I sought His face, His forgiveness and His grace and even then I felt guilty. Then one day the Holy Spirit spoke to me as I was agonising about how my mom must have felt when they told her that they could not find me. We had been so close! You would think I would have opted to remain close by with her being so ill. But I heard God asking me was it that I did not trust Him? Why don’t you trust Me, He asked. I was taken aback because I knew that I trusted God, and spoke of His goodness to everyone I met. So I asked Him, Lord what do you mean? He said I have forgiven you my child. I said I know. He said no you don’t or you would not be carrying this weight around. That stopped me in my tracks. He was right! If I say I love and trust Him and He has told me that He has forgiven me, why then was I still feeling so bad about the same thing? It simply meant that I had not let it go. I did not trust that He was able to take away this load I was carrying. I needed to let go and let God. So I did. I just said Lord, I accept that you have forgiven me; I am not going to feel bad about this anymore. I am letting it go in Jesus name! And I did. When I think about my mom now I think about how exciting it’s going to be when we meet again on the streets of gold leading to our heavenly mansions.
Can this work for you too?
Yes it can. You see, I have learnt that when we hold onto these things we literally tie God’s hands. He is a gentleman and will not force us to do that which we don’t want to do. So if He has forgiven us and we choose to hold onto the issue, we are actually saying that we prefer to feel sorry for ourselves, live in pain and guilt rather than accept His grace and freedom from the troubling issue. It is really just a matter of whether or not you believe that God can really forgive you all your sins. The answer is yes He can. Nothing is impossible with God. When once we let go and let God, we will find a peace that passes all understanding just like He promised. He is not slack concerning His promises. If He says it, that settles it. He keeps His Word.
What about our feelings?
Where God is concerned, feelings are not the most important things in life. He is a God of principle, not feelings. Just because you may not ‘feel’ Him there or even near, does not negate the fact that He is Omnipresent. He is everywhere and He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. I am sure you have heard the famous poem – Footprints in the Sand. If you have not, basically what it relays is the story of one who when experiencing happy days sees two pairs of footprints in the sand, but on the occasions when that one is battling troubling times, there is only one pair of footprints on the sand. Perplexed one questions God about what is seemingly a lack of faithfulness because that one believes that God disappears when troubles come. God is said to make this response, which I am praying will encourage someone today: “When you see one set of footprints in the sand, it is then that I carried you.”
So you see, true to His word, God never leaves us alone, and never will no matter how much evidence is there to the contrary.