"Buddy, just let go."
Updated: Apr 28, 2022
A few weeks ago when I was putting Elias to bed, he wanted to reach the ceiling. I grabbed him around the waist and started to raise him up - and he wouldn’t let go of my neck.
Reaching the ceiling isn’t difficult for my kids when I am holding them up. As someone who is 6’3”, it’s easy for me to reach the ceiling in our house. When Linnea was Elias’s age, she was always asking to touch the ceiling.
So I turned to Linnea, who was sitting on the floor reading a book in Elias’s room.
“Linnea,” I said, “why don’ you tell Elias that he can trust me to lift him up to the ceiling.”
Linnea looked up at her younger brother, “buddy, just let go.”
But he couldn’t. He held on tighter and tighter to my neck. I repositioned my hands so they were under Elias’s armpits and tried to lift him up again. He still wouldn’t let go. He was already so close to the ceiling, but he wasn’t willing to release the hold he had on me.
He wasn’t willing to take a slight risk to get himself to the experience that he really wanted to have.
Over the last few weeks, I thought that Elias would gain the courage to reach out and touch the ceiling. Instead, nearly every day when I am holding him in his room he looks at me and says, “Don’t touch ceiling, daddy.”
Not only has he not gained the courage to trust me to keep him safe while reaching out, he now doesn’t even desire to reach out and touch the ceiling in the first place.
He won’t “just let go.”
In the grand scheme of things, my 2-year-old son reaching out and touching the ceiling has little bearing on any sort of growth and maturity. Even if he never touches the ceiling in our house, it’s not going to hurt his development.
But, Elias’s actions parallel my actions in so many ways, especially when I think about trusting God. There have been so many times in my past when I have treated God the same way that Elias treated me. I feel God’s presence, I know He’s near, I pray that he takes me somewhere, but I am unwilling to reach out and go where He has prepared me to go.
Often I get comfortable looking at where I think he has me to go and I get afraid to commit to reaching out in faith.
Indiana Jones has always been one of my favorite series. Dr. Jones makes the history of ancient civilizations fun and entertaining. In The Last Crusade, with his father laying on the floor and dying, Dr. Jones needs to literally step out in faith to get to the room with the Holy Grail.
From his perspective, his first step into the gap was the step that would lead to his death. He couldn’t see the bridge in front of him because it perfectly matched the surroundings. He didn’t know that all he needed to do was step forward until he took that step.
The bridge was there in front of him the whole time. The identity and location of the bridge becomes clear as the camera pans away from Indy’s perspective and we see that the path was there the entire time. With Elias, he didn’t see what Linnea saw - Elias saw an impossibly big gap between where he was (in my arms) and where he wanted to go; Linnea saw and knew it was a small gap that would lead to a wonderful payoff of going somewhere he could not go on his own.
It all comes down to trust.
The same is true of our walk with Christ. It comes down to trust. For the believer, we might know that the Bible continues to tell us to trust God. All throughout the Old Testament God is telling his people to trust them. King David, Joshua, and the prophet Jeremiah all write about trusting in the Lord on a regular basis. But trust takes the faith of the believer to let go of our grip on God, and let Him take us to where he needs us to go.
Let’s leave you today with a few verses to encourage you to trust in the Lord.
1. God Knows What Will Happen
“My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before they came to be.” - Psalm 139:15-16 (NIV)
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” - Jeremiah 29:11-13 (ESV)
2. Our Source of Courage is God
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9 (ESV)
3. Turn to God When Afraid
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” - Psalms 56:3-4 (ESV)
The only reason Dr. Jones took that step was that his dad was dying. There was an immediate need to be met which gave him the courage to trust and have faith. I’ve been in a situation where the only road ahead was to trust God. Thankfully, I had previously been in a situation where I did let go of my own fears of what was to come and trusted God’s plan.
I can say from experience that it is an incredible journey to trust God and live into the plans He has for each of us. It might have taken a similarly difficult trial myself to understand more clearly what trusting God looks like, but when I’ve been more willing to trust, I see God moving more. It’s not that God wasn’t moving, but I wasn’t recognizing His movement in my life as a gift from Him.
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