Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Letting Go

The following text is an excerpt from Elisabeth Elliot's Passion and Purity.  In this chapter, she is speaking primarily of her separation from her future husband (Jim Elliot) as their preparation to serve the Lord took them different places after a short time spent near each other, studying in Quito.  However, what she says applies to more than just a person's love life.  I thought what she says here might be an encouragement to many of us who are going through the difficult process of "letting go", so I wanted to share it with you. May you be encouraged and blessed, as I was!

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The growth of all living green things wonderfully represents the process of receiving and relinquishing, gaining and losing, living and dying.  The seed falls into the ground, dies as the new shoot springs up.  There must be a splitting and a breaking in order for a bud to form.  The bud "lets go" when the flower forms.  The calyx lets go of the flower.  The petals must curl up and die in order for the fruit to form.  The fruit falls, splits, relinquishes the seed.  The seed falls into the ground. . . .

There is no ongoing spiritual life without this process of letting go.  At the precise point where we refuse, growth stops.  If we hold tightly to anything given to us, unwilling to let it go when the time comes to let it go or unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver means it to be used, we stunt the growth of the soul.

It is easy to make a mistake here.  "If God gave it to me," we say, "it's mine.  I can do what I want with it."  No.  The truth is that it is ours to thank Him for and ours to offer back to Him, ours to relinquish, ours to lose, ours to let go of-- if we want to find our true selves, if we want real Life, if our hearts are set on glory.

Think of the self that God has given as an acorn.  It is a marvelous little thing, a perfect shape, perfectly designed for its purpose, perfectly functional.  Think of the grand glory of an oak tree.  God's intention when He made the acorn was the oak tree.  His intention for us is "...the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."  Many deaths must go into our reaching that measure, many letting-goes.  When you look at the oak tree, you don't feel that the "loss" of the acorn is a very great loss.  The more you perceive God's purpose for your life, the less terrible will the losses seem...

...There must be relinquishment.  There is no way around it.  The seed does not "know" what will happen.  It only knows what is happening-- the falling, the darkness, the dying.  That was how it felt to be separated as we were-- as though we had been given no clues as to why this had to be.  "The wanting itself is good," Jim wrote, "it is right, even God granted, but now God denied, and He has not let me know all the wisdom of the denial."  We were yet far from the depth of spiritual perception Lilias Trotter had when she wrote those profound words quoted earlier: "The first step into the realm of giving is...not manward but Godward: an utter yielding of our best.  So long as our idea of surrender is limited to the renouncing of unlawful things, we have never grasped its true meaning: that is not worthy of the name for 'no polluted thing' can be offered." ...

...We were being asked to trust, to leave the planning to God.  God's ultimate plan was as far beyond our imaginings as the oak tree is from the acorn's imaginings.  The acorn does what it was made to do, without pestering its Maker with questions about when and how and why.  We who have been given an intelligence and a will and a whole range of wants that can be set against the divine Pattern for God are asked to believe Him.  We are given the chance to trust Him when He says to us, "...If any man will let himself be lost for my sake, he will find his true self."

When will we find it? we ask.  The answer is, Trust Me.

How will we find it? The answer again is, Trust Me.

Why must I let myself be lost? we persist.  The answer is, Look to the acorn and trust Me. 


~Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity, pages 163-166

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May the Lord grow and bless and strengthen you all, and may each trial, each "letting go" He brings you to, serve to make you more like His Son Jesus Christ.

2 comments:

Alaina said...

Wow...convicting. :S

Anonymous said...

Thanks Melanie!!:)