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Learn to Let Go and Let God

Rely on the incredibly hard prayer that Jesus prayed.

By Elizabeth Peale Allen, Pawling, New York

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The Bible is the perfect place to turn when you are going through rough times. “Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22). These are true promises, with the seeds of inner peace hidden in them.

But it’s easy to misread these passages to mean that God is a magic problem-solver, a genie whose main job is to make us happy today. It’s easy to assume that casting our troubles on God means He will take our troubles away. Sometimes, though, He doesn’t.

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I love the phrase “Let go and let God” because it sounds so simple. But there are times when we aren’t clear what it is we’re supposed to let go of. And there are other times we want to let go, we try to let go—and it just doesn’t happen. Why?

Sometimes there’s a difference in what we want to give up and what we need to release. We might be holding tightly to something we think of as good, like better health for a loved one or changed behavior in a wayward child. And though it’s never wrong to desire good things, there are times when we have to let go of what we think is best.

Other times we grip tightly to assumptions about the way life “should” be. We think things ought to be easier or being a parent shouldn’t be so hard. We fight what we’re being asked to do—effectively resisting taking up our cross (Matthew 16:24) the way Jesus commanded. Sometimes what we must give up are our preconceived notions of how life is supposed to work.

But in every case, what “Let go and let God” comes down to is this: We need to let go of our own will. We must claim as our own the incredibly hard prayer that Jesus prayed: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). We need to let go and let God do what God wills. This submission will lead to peace and joy, even when the way is difficult. “Father, I place my life in Your hands!” (Luke 23:46).