It’s Time To Let Go

finding-nemo-let-goMARLIN: “Dory!”

DORY: “He says, “It’s time to let go!”. Everything’s going to be all right.”

MARLIN: “How do you know, how do you know something bad isn’t gonna happen?”

DORY: “I don’t!”

-dialog from the film Finding Nemo (2003)

You’ve probably seen this film at one point or another and if you have kids, you’ve probably seen it a lot. Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) and Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), after having gone through many adventures, have been swallowed by a whale. The forgetful Dory, who apparently can speak whale, was asking the sea mammal for directions to Sydney, Australia when the creature gulped down her and Marlin with a chaser of krill. We all know that this was the whale’s best effort to give Dory and Marlin a free ride to their destination, but the ever pessimistic Marlin just feels like today’s hot lunch special.

Dory has another point of view made of optimism and trust (and short-term memory loss). When the water inside the whale recedes and Dory and Marlin are about to fall down the whale’s throat, Marlin grabs onto something and clutches it and Dory for dear life. The whale tells Dory (in whale talk) to let go and Dory translates for Marlin. That’s where we pick up the dialog above.

MARLIN: “How do you know, how do you know something bad isn’t gonna happen?”

DORY: “I don’t!”

You won’t read this until Tuesday, but I’m writing it on Sunday afternoon. Three times at church this morning, I must have heard someone say to humbly trust God for everything and not our own efforts.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5 (NASB)

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s the basis for such a thing in the Bible.

I’m not always happy with the sorts of religious systems we develop just to try to understand what God is saying to us in the Bible. It’s sometimes amazing to me that so many different and contradictory meanings can be squeezed out of the scriptures. Really, if God caused the Bible to be written in human language so that human beings could understand what He’s saying (and since He’s God, what He’s saying to us must be pretty important), then why is the Bible so incredibly difficult to comprehend in a unified fashion?

But then sometimes, suddenly the Bible can be very clear.

‘You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord. You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the Lord.’

Leviticus 23:15-17 (NASB)

In his sermon, Pastor said this was the command for the people of Israel to acknowledge God’s provision to them on Shavuot. Last week, we talked about offering God the firstfruits, the very best of the barley crop before anyone else could “sample the goods.”

God gives us everything. He needs nothing from us in return. And yet, He directed the Children of Israel to give back to Him by these festivals so that the Israelites could realize where everything comes from and acknowledge God’s goodness and generosity.

You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Psalm 145:16 (NASB)

I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.

Psalm 37:25 (ESV)

birkat-hamazonBoth of those scriptures are incorporated in the Birkat Hamazon or “Grace After Meals,” a blessing typically said by observant Jews after a meal. In my previous congregation, on Shabbat, we would recite it after our oneg meal and before the teaching began. It’s a wonderful reminder of God’s provision for all humanity and that everything we have truly comes from Him.

In my struggles with “religious systems” and trying to integrate within traditional Christianity, I haven’t really been relying on God. Oh, it’s not as if God hasn’t been involved and has been absent when I needed help, I just haven’t been asking Him, at least very regularly. If I have to rely only on the brain I have inside my skull, I’m not going to get very far. Maybe that’s why I haven’t gotten very far. Then again, I’m not sure how far God wants me to go, or in what direction.

I know I still want to write about things like the comparison between Christian Dispensationalism and Rabbinic Judaism and how they both seem to rely on a post-Biblical evolution of their religious design structures in order to adapt to changes in environment and history (and this is a comparison that wouldn’t find much traction in the church). I also have to decide to finally follow Dory’s advice and let go.

It’s not up to just me to fight, let alone win any battles. Sure, I have to show up and be prepared, but I’m hardly the star attraction. I’m not the general. I’m not leading the army. The spotlight isn’t centered on me, nor to I want it to be.

Well, sometimes, maybe a little, but that’s my error.

I’ve been trying too hard to hang on because I was afraid something bad might happen…well, not exactly, but close enough. I’ve been fighting too hard and worrying too much about getting my point across when I know it’s not my point. It’s God’s. And if it’s God’s point, it’ll get across. Who can resist God? If I’m not speaking about God’s point, then no one will listen anyway.

So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”

Acts 5:38-39 (NASB)

I probably have been resisting God. Most of us do, though we are loath to admit it.

I still need to do what I believe God wants me to do, but I also need to let God take the lead, so to speak, and not think that it’s all my effort. I also need to better realize that whatever I have is from God and not find it so difficult to give back. If I really trust God, then it’ll all work out by His will.

Let me hear your kindness at dawn, for in You have I placed my trust; let me know the way I should walk, for to You have I lifted my soul.

Psalm 143:8 (Stone Edition Tanakh)

It’s time to let go.

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11 thoughts on “It’s Time To Let Go”

  1. I chuckled when you stated that “sometimes, suddenly the Bible can be very clear” and then cited Lev.23:15-17, because there still exists a controversy over which particular “Sabbath” day is the reference point for counting the Omer and thus when does Shavuot occur. The controversy began between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and Judaism has resolved it in favor of the Pharisaic viewpoint, but it arises in Christian circles that discount or are ignorant of Jewish tradition.

    A more interesting resolution is needed between trusting that HaShem can and will handle every problem that comes along, and thus letting go of our own struggling in order to let Him do it; and diligently fulfilling the responsibility implicit in the saying “all that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. An interesting investigation into the sources of that saying may be found at: “http://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/12/04/good-men-do/”, and I fondly remember a variation of it injected into a dialog between Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy in the StarTrek episode “The Omega Glory”, in which McCoy says: “Spock, I’ve found that evil usually triumphs – unless good is very, very careful.” It seems to me that resolving this tension requires knowing something accurately about HaShem’s intentions and one’s individual responsibilities in their pursuit, as in your citation of Ps.143:8.

  2. I chuckled when you stated that “sometimes, suddenly the Bible can be very clear” and then cited Lev.23:15-17, because there still exists a controversy over which particular “Sabbath” day is the reference point for counting the Omer and thus when does Shavuot occur. The controversy began between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and Judaism has resolved it in favor of the Pharisaic viewpoint, but it arises in Christian circles that discount or are ignorant of Jewish tradition.

    Actually, that’s this coming Thursday’s “morning meditation.” All I was saying was that we should rely on God since all things come from him anyway.

    A more interesting resolution is needed between trusting that HaShem can and will handle every problem that comes along, and thus letting go of our own struggling in order to let Him do it; and diligently fulfilling the responsibility implicit in the saying “all that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”.

    I wasn’t suggesting an either/or situation but there’s only so much any human being can do. Especially in the world of religion, we can get pretty wound up with our points of view and what we think is right, when all the while, if God wants something to work out, He’ll make sure we have the required tools so it will work out.

    “Spock, I’ve found that evil usually triumphs – unless good is very, very careful.”

    The wisdom of the venerated sage McCoy. I remember it well.

  3. James: I think you are doing great !!! You should just speak loud and clear whatever you are finding to be Truth, even if the Truth you have found, is still not completely clear. You should also walk in God’s ways even if you only can take one step at the beginning. Yeshua will do the rest !!! He said : “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John10:27 Whoever is one of His sheep, will read and will understand, will hear and obey, will get up and follow Him !

  4. I appreciate the encouragement, Alfredo. However, since I live in my own skin, so to speak, I’m acutely aware of my own faults and shortcomings. While I try to be fairly transparent on this blog, I do actually have a sense of personal privacy. 😉

    Faith is a journey and rarely a linear one.

  5. James: We all have things (faults and shortcomings) that only the Master knows !!! But that doesn’t mean that He won’t keep on finishing what He has started to do on us !!! Talking about Faith… I like to think and act based on the hebrew word “Emunah” better… It gives me more peace to remember that God has everything under control, that everything (good or apparently bad) that happens to me work for my own good (Roman 8:28) and that He is always trying to teach me something that I have to seek and find. Shalom !

  6. Thanks, guys. Actually, right now, I’d just settle for a nap. I got about four hours sleep last night and struggled through my workout at the gym this morning. I hope no one asks me to think today.

  7. I’ll echo Pete and PL here. We are all growing, and it appears you are describing a growth moment. Amen. And I too found the irony by using Levi 23 as a proof of clarity! lol Good post James! A humble heart is close to God! Seeking to rest in him is as humble as you can get IMHO. I’ll throw a verse out there; not by might nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord of Hosts!

  8. Amen!

    I’m going through a similar experience right now, trying to follow Torah in the church setting. But I too need to “let go,” and have felt the call. It’s really hard to do, but so worth it.

    Thanks!

  9. Genevieve, it’s easy to forget that in a church setting, there’s a lot of Torah that is followed all the time, we just don’t call it that. Feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, praying for the well being of others, giving to charity are all Torah. Relatively few of the mitzvot are overtly “Jewish.” You’ll be fine.

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