"To live in this world
you must be able to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go."
- Mary Oliver (excerpt from In Blackwater Woods)
There is a chapter in AW Tozer’s excellent book Pursuing God entitled The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing. In the chapter he discusses how we human beings are prone to becoming “possessed by our possessions.” Now that is a sticky phrase. It is sticky because it is as true as it is hard to forget.
There is a lot of freedom in this concept - imagine being able to trust God in such a way that you are totally cool being completely reliant on His resources - that you have come to view everything that you have as His - you no longer have to worry about scarcity, you no longer have to protect what you have, you no longer have to surrender countless hours of your Tuesday evening Googling customer reviews on the (fill in the thing you plan on buying next here). You instead are as grateful to God for what you have as you are trusting in Him to continue supplying what you need. What a simple and full life!
This concept, as with pretty much every other concept, is actually much more difficult to live than it is to appreciate. Particularly when it is pushed to it’s furthest extremes.
One evening my wife and I went for a long walk on the beach. She was pregnant with our first child. We were praying as we walked. She, in a burst of inspiration, said to God, “God, our son is always going to be Your son, even long after we are gone - we surrender the responsibility of his life into Your hands.” I felt a burden I didn’t even realize I was carrying lift off of me.
I sure do worry about that little guy! And his little brother! And their momma! I worry about them because they are the most precious and valuable things to me in this world. And I want them to be healthy and happy and loved.
And what I am trying to learn, what I am trying to believe, is that God wants the same things for them. And he has a much better chance at providing that for them than I do. And all of this life is a dance - a dance of cherishing deeply and of letting go. But letting go, as I’m beginning to understand it, isn’t to surrender abjectly, to resign to do nothing, to let the heart grow cold or distant. It is instead to prayerfully and with great hope give our deepest desires to God, to entrust them to Him, believing and coming to know that He is a good dad and that right there, in the center of His heart, is His love for His kids. And this kind of love has to be surrendered to to be understood.