I sat with head bowed, palms open and turned upward in my lap, as the pastor had directed us to do while he prayed over us. The symbolism of my hands, open and empty, was not lost on me. Opening my clenched fists requires that I let go of anything and everything that I am holding onto so tightly. (I wonder how many of us had to put down our phones in order to have our hands empty, open and available during the prayer?) Only when my hands are open and empty, am I ready for God to fill them with the good gifts He has been waiting to put within my grasp all along.
I just have to loosen my strangle hold on all that I cling to so desperately, finally letting go, leaving my hands wide open to receive all that God wants to give me. Makes me wonder why I hang on so hard and so long to these things – when God promises to give me something better.
If I let go of my fear – God stands ready to replace it with His courage.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
When I let go of my grief, God will take it upon Himself and bring me His comfort.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
“Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,” (Isaiah 53:4)
I don’t have to hold so tightly to my guilt and shame, I can release them and receive God’s forgiveness.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
I can let go of all my anxieties and let His perfect peace fill me instead.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
I can let go of despair and allow God’s hope to enter in and fill me instead.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
I can let go of these heavy burdens I insist on carrying with me every day, afraid to put them down and leave them behind. When I lay them down, I will find they have been replaced with what God wants to give me. Jesus said,
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
I can let go of all anger and judgement towards others. In their place, God will give me His compassion and mercy for each and every person.
“The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.” (Psalm 145:9)
I can let go of all my doubts and receive from God the assurance of His love for me in its place.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.” (Deuteronomy 7:9)
“if we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
I can let go of hate (which is really heavy) and receive God’s love in its place.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)
I can let go of my selfish ambitions and dreams of worldly success, leaving myself open to God’s direction, receiving God’s plans for me, His purposes for my life, which are far better plans and purposes for me than my own plans for myself.
” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I would prefer to go through life with hands open and upturned to God, rather than to live life with fists clenched. But I catch myself often during the day, with my hands closed around something, hanging on for dear life, unwilling to part with whatever it is, perhaps fearing the emptiness and doubting that God will fill it.
“He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagles.” (Psalm 103:5/NLT)
letting go – a thousand times a day if that’s what it takes – what it takes to open my hands, my heart and my life to my Creator, God – my Heavenly Father so that He can reign down His manna and His mercy on me and my hands will be open to receive it – to receive all of His good gifts –
Still, there is one thing I want to grasp and not let go of and it is this – it’s something that Paul said –
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
sincerely, Grace Day