What it Means to Let Go and Let God
Have you ever done a trust fall with your friends? It’s a game where you drop everything and fall back, arms wide open, expecting your friend to catch you before you hit the ground. The point of the game is to prove to your friends that you trust them, while they are also proving that they are trustworthy. If your friends are anything like mine, we shout “Trust Fall!!!” as loud as we can while falling back. Some people are more worried about the fall than others. Personally, I can be reluctant to fully commit without catching myself at a certain angle.
Oddly enough, this game popped into my mind during a service at my home church last summer. The worship band was singing Bethel Music’s version of the hymn, “It is Well.” The line, “Let Go My Soul and Trust in Him” played over and over again in my head, while the image of a trust fall synced to the lyrics.
I’ve realized there is a clear distinction between the two phrases in this line. The first part is “Let Go my Soul” and the second part is “Trust in Him.” You can’t get to the second without conquering the first. Letting go is undoubtedly the hardest part.
Imagine approaching God with the second part first. We want to trust in Him with our arms full, instead of letting go. Our arms may be full of good or bad things, like memories, relationships, expectations, or responsibilities. We unintentionally approach Him with the mindset “okay God, here’s all my stuff I’m holding on to and I’m ready to trust in You.”
However, God addressed “hoarding” early on in the Bible. In Exodus 16, God supplied the Israelites with their food, manna, on a day to day basis as they were traveling to the Promised Land. The Israelites were faced with a daily trust fall. The manna God provided was not meant to be kept as stock for the next day. He parted the Red Sea for them, yet some of the Israelites questioned His faithfulness to provide food. In Exodus 16:20, the Israelites tried to hold on to what they were supposed let go of, and they found their manna spoiled with maggots the next morning. This is a Biblical example that even God’s blessings can create a barrier between trust and obedience.
Instead of holding on, God commands us to first “let go my soul.” This is where the image of the trust fall is put into action. In order for the person we are falling towards to catch us, we have to give them something to grip on to. If our arms are full of all the things we are holding on to, we are burdened by the extra weight and are simply too heavy to catch. However, if we let go, opening our arms in the shape of a “T,” the person we are falling towards can scoop right under our arms and catch us with ease. This is what we need to do with God. We need to let go of the extra weight we are not meant to carry. When we lay the memories, expectations, relationships, responsibilities, or whatever we are holding on to, both good and bad, at the foot the Cross, we can exclusively attach ourselves to His will. With arms wide open, approach Him boldly and shout “TRUST FALL!!! God, I have let go of it all. Even with nothing, I trust in YOU alone.”
“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” - Psalm 119:37
The original hymn, “It is Well with My Soul” was written by Horatio Spafford during a time of grieving, where he, like Job in the Bible, was forced to let go and trust God to care for him. In 1873, his life started a downward spiral as he lost his son to scarlet fever, his finances through a fire, and his four daughters in a shipwreck. At a time when everything was stripped from him, he composed a beautiful hymn as a declaration that even when we are forced to let go of the world, God is still supremely good.
Horatio Spafford’s wisdom and ability to trust God empty handed is a testament to the “even so… it is well.” The Bethel Music version is sung by Kristin DiMarco and she says, “The hymn “It is Well with My Soul” is a reminder that our worship of God should not be based on our circumstance, but based on who God is.” It’s not about what we have in our arms, but rather the arms we are falling into. Through His strength, God never ceases to catch us with grace and love.
“Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-29
Let us pray for God to help us to get out of our own way and through it all, keep our eyes on Him. I pray that you can let go of your soul, and trust in Him… the waves and wind still know HIS name, and He will forever know YOUR name, just TRUST FALL.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” - Hebrews 12:1
Maggie // @maggie_yow