My son, Josiah, has autism and he is getting bigger as he nears his ninth birthday. He’s a deceptively strong kid, so at times he has taken to employing the “pull” technique to jerk me to where he wants to go instead of letting me lead him. My physical hand grip on him is pretty tight when we’re out and about, but he is testing the limits of my ability to hold on.
When he was small, if he didn’t listen to my voice, I could scoop him up and make him go where I was intending for us to go. I can’t pick him up anymore, so I have a real need for his impulsivity to yield to my parental directives, or it’s a battle for his well-being, his protection and our ability to simply have a nice time enjoying each other’s company.
And, you know what, Father God has been impressing on me that so it is with Him and His kids. Perhaps we have missed the message of the mysterious lesson of “letting.” L-E-T. It’s a very simple little word, but it’s just different enough from sheer obedience to deserve a closer look. It might just be a key to an enjoyable, life-giving relationship with our God through Jesus Christ.
It might even be a lost spiritual art–the art of letting. The art of doing and getting became so much more en vogue than the art of letting, didn’t they? But learning to let might make for a much smoother adventure welcoming the presence of God into our daily, walking around lives–rather than a herky, jerky one.
Once you start knowing to look for it, you’d be surprised how much that little word let shows up in the the instruction book. After all, just open to Genesis chapter one to find eight creative “Let there be” declarations that God Himself uses to kick off all of life as we know it. Have you ever thought of that? Why would something have to give–to yield–for something else to become? Emptiness, darkness and waters existed, and the Spirit hovered over them to get on with some unparalleled transforming. But the emptiness, darkness and chaos had to give way to form.
To “let” basically means “to allow, to permit, to cause to, to give an opportunity to.” I find it interesting that nature runs on laws to just do what it’s designed to do–the leaves in Minnesota are going to turn yellow in fall whether they want to or not–but people are left responsible for their own “lets.” It’s the essence of free will, of choice. Sometimes we actually don’t like this sort of freedom. We want God to just overpower what we strongly go along with so we can be released from its potentially destructive lure. But He doesn’t do it–unless we LET Him.
So, a question to wrestle with would have to be this: Why don’t we let Him? Why don’t we let ourselves do it His way?
To let is to be given a choice and then deciding to bend to the stronger authority and to the greater impetus. Letting is the attitude exerted from a humbled heart. Humility will concede that it doesn’t have to be my way to be the best, most fulfilling way.
So, let us put on our big kid underpants and see what benefit it might be for us to let God be who He wants to be for us, and also to release a powerful receiver signal to be open to what God wants to bring into our lives. We’re pretty much jolting our souls to yield here. Here are just a few examples:
- Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Phil. 2:5
- Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives… Col. 3:16
- Let the weak say I am strong. Joel 3:10
- Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matt. 5:16
- Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil. 2:4
- Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me. Ps. 103:2
- Let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no… James 5:12
- Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18
- Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul. Ps. 143:8
- Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Ps. 19:14
- Let us live up to what we have already attained. Phil. 3:16
- Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Letting involves a level of trust that has won over our “fight or flight” stress reaction. Perhaps one of the most physical demonstrations of letting was circumcision in the Old Testament. I’m not a man but I’m sure adult males might want to contend with such a procedure. But circumcision was allowing God into the most intimate, vulnerable, private place of covenant relationship with man. But, then God said what He really is looking for is circumcised hearts.
Having a heart that lets Him in to every part is basically spiritual circumcision. Colossians 2:11 says, “When you came to Christ, you were ‘circumcised,’ but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision–the cutting away of your sinful nature.”
I’m evaluating any and all of my resistance, my recoiling, my rebellion, my refusals these days to learn what it is to live a letting life before my God. The same Spirit that hovered over the void in the beginning, hovers over our voids just waiting to create the most beautiful, vibrant things in a life that lets Him. And then, He shows you, and lets you have a try!
And, remember, every time we say AMEN, we are saying LET IT BE SO.