Let Go and Let God
by Paul Hazelden


Introduction

In the Summer 2010 edition of On Eagles' Wings, Joyce Sibthorpe writes an article entitled, "Live Like Believers". She first quotes from an Amy Grant song:

I have decided,
Being good is just a fable,
I just can't 'cause I'm not able.
I'm gonna leave it to the Lord.

Then she quotes from Colin Urquhart:

If I can't - He can
If I do not - he will
But - If I do - He will not!

She then continues:

If I decide to rely on my own resources, the Lord will let me. When I fail, as I usually do, I will then seek His help to get out of trouble... Trying harder leads to exhaustion, and if we succeed, to pride in our own ability, and if we fail, to despair."

All this is. of course, true. But it is only own side of the coin. And if believers try to live this way - live as it this were the only truth - then that attempt will also lead to failure.

God at Work

Despite all the talk by Christians about God doing things - answering prayer, performing miracles, changing lives, and so on - the truth is that most of us don't have a clear idea about how God interacts with this world.

After all, what we actually see is a world in which God plays no obvious role. In what we measure and observe, we generally see no more and no less than the 'laws of nature' at work. Drop a book, and it falls; heat some water, and it boils. Believers will point out that these 'laws of nature' are rules which God has put in place, so we see God's will being worked out in them. But if God acts only through the laws of nature, this is the same as saying that He does not act.

Most miracles can be validly described as coincidences. But every now and then, we see a miracle which seems to defy the laws of nature: walking on water, water turning to wine, bread and fish being multiplied. People have come up with theories to explain the plagues fo Egypt; perhaps in time, they will come up with theories to explain some of these other miracles.

The point is: it doesn't matter. It does not matter whether God somehow placed the dreams in Joseph's mind, or whether the dreams arose from purely natural causes. In either case, God is present in the dreams, acting in them and through them.

We should not expect to understand how God interacts with the world. In a sense, the miracles point us to a deeper truth: He is present somehow in shaping and ordering the coincidences; He is present in the other miracles we can't explain away; and He is also present in the growth of every flower and the song of every bird. It is not so much the case that coincidences are not truly miraculous, but it can be the case that they help us see the miraculous in so much of every day life.

When we say that God is present in creation, we are not identifying the Creator with the creation: he is much than the things He created, but somehow He uses the creation to communicate His presence and His character.

And it is not just creation: He is present in you and me; and He can be present in a special way through the love we show to others. God shows His love through your actions. They are still your actions - you choose them, you carry them out. But as well as being your actions, they are also God at work, God demonstrating His love, God making Himself present.

The Other Side of the Coin

As well as letting go and letting God, we are also commanded to work and pray, to act, to be obedient. Gideon did not sit back and let God defeat the Midianites. He could not have done it without God, but equally well, it would not have happened without him.

The Bible is full of people of faith acting in faith.

When we 'let go', we do not let go of activity. We do not sit back and wait for God to do it without us. We let go of our independence. We need Him to guide us and guard us and empower us, not just in the special events, but in the every day details of our lives. We also let go of our responsibility for the activities. Our only responsibility is to be obedient, to do what he calls us to do.

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