Thursday, August 22, 2013

Toward the Letting Go

One of the reasons for learning to rest, starting with a regular Sabbath, is not just that God rested so we need to, but also because God made himself “weak” in a kind of passivity, and so should we.

We need to regularly practice—at least once/week—letting go and letting things happen. Far from an exercise in apathy or passivity for its own sake, we do this as a habitual reminder that life does not depend on our efforts. Taking hold and taking charge are not always the best option. Busyness and strategy and power are sometimes obstacles to the present moment.

We do this following the Master’s example as he allowed himself to fall into the foolishness and weakness of God, resulting in the cross and death, which is to say resulting in salvation and resurrection.

Here is the greatest demonstration of God’s strength in human history. Not the rise of kings, the ascendency of empires, the domination of armies. Not even the achievements of scientists, inventors, artists, or CEOs. The focal point of human history and greatest feat of strength is Jesus of Nazareth falling into the hands of worldly power, letting his own hands be nailed to wood, his naked body raised, exposed to the mocking masses…utterly helpless and weak. In doing this, the world’s notions of power were put to shame, if only we will learn the lesson.

This ultimate moment followed years of fixedness on the Father’s will and learning to let go. Such “weakness” actually came from an unfathomable place of inner strength, of inner rest. Certainly he didn’t walk through his days apathetically, robotically. He was a man of deep feeling, struggle, and passion. But the ability for the words “not my will, but yours, be done” to be sincere, to be lived, comes only from that place of rest.

Following the Master, we do well to cultivate such an inner rest. As practice makes perfect, we practice rest that we might be perfected in the Father, that we might grow to maturity in the life we were made to live. Outside forces will toss us around like rag dolls. Our Father calls us to lay it all down and rest in his care. The prophet says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength” (Is. 30:15).

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