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Friday, September 9, 2005

Holding on or letting go?

I was watching the news this morning, and, as expected, they were covering the Hurricane Relief Effort. One of the stories was about the steps rescuers had to take to forcibly remove people form their homes.

One of the stories showed a whole family leaving--all but one. The one older woman literally clung to her storm-and-flood ravaged house. The river of raw sewage, chemicals, dead bodies, etc flowed next to her feet. She was crying and screaming that she couldn't leave her home.

It stuck me how anyone would WANT to stay in that place. But as I thought about it, it stuck me that I have done the same thing. And people do this very same thing each day.

How many times does God come and try to rescue us from ourselves? He comes to offer living water and food that will never parish. Instead of thankfully accepting, we cling to what we consider life. We hold onto the comfortable or the only earthy things we have for fear that if we let go of these things we will have nothing.

How did that old woman know that the life she was leaving would be better than what she had? How would she know that from the death and destruction would be a new, clean home? What if, by taking that step, she wasn't better off?

I can see so many of our friends and family doing just that as we offer Christ to them. It is hard to let go of all you've ever known or had and step into a boat with a stranger. Yes, we can see from the outside the better life. We see the new, clean, safe environment that is on the other side. We don't understand why they cling to garbage--surrounded by dead--because they are afraid.

And we do it too. We cling to the familiar or the known things, and as God asks us to step out in faith, we hesitate. We hold on to what we know and look at the raw sewage and think---what if it's not better? I don't know if this new place, or job, or relationship will be better than what I have. We would rather hold on to some resemblance of "life" than take the BETTER life He is offering to us.

I was wrong to look at that woman and think she was crazy to stay. We all do it. We all--at some time or another--choose brokenness instead of newness. We all cling to old habits, old thoughts, old desires, and old relationships---even though we see it could eventually kill us. We all settle for crumbs instead of the feast. We do it because our faith is too small--too small to trust the unknown way.

"The Gate of the Year" by Minnie Haskins 1908

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'

And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'

So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
Trod gladly into the night
He led me towards the hills
And the breaking of day in the lone east.

So heart be still!
What need our human life to know
If God hath comprehension?

In all the dizzy strife of things
Both high and low,
God hideth his intention."

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