“Hold everything with an open hand.” It’s a phrase that has been floating around in my head for months. It’s something God has been trying to teach me for years. And it’s a phrase that makes a lot of sense for where we were… and still are, in the waiting. I’ve circled back to it over and over again. I’ve stood outside with flowers in my open palm, and watched the wind blow some away while others stayed, and I’ve thought a lot about it - metaphorically and literally.
As a type-A, tightly wound person, I like things to be orderly, planned, and prepared. However, I’ve learned over the last six years that plans are… just plans. Just because we plan it doesn’t mean it will happen the way that we plan it. I’ve had to acknowledge over and over again that I’m not in control over many things, yet I continue to plan. I continue to take my plans and hold them so tightly in my closed fist that my knuckles turn white. While God continues to wrestle my clenched palms to open them. Day-after-day, week-after-week, and year-after-year, God continues to deepen our relationship and my understanding of Him, and I can see the beauty in it: surrender. It’s hard, sometimes impossible, yet it yields the best fruit. It strengthens our relationship in the best and most beautiful ways. Because if I could plan and perfect everything to my liking, why would I need a savior? Isn’t that true for us all?
Because of sin, we now have death, loss, suffering, struggle, and all the really hard stuff that we don’t like to think about. But because death has been defeated by Jesus, we have hope. An everlasting hope that can and will never die.
Jesus said, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). Some people misinterpret this verse to say ask for whatever you want and it will be given to you, if you are righteous and deserving, if you’re a good person, if God likes you, if you give enough money in the offering plate. BUT, that’s not true. The Truth is this is about God. He desires that we all know Him, so knock, and the door will be opened. Ask and you will be given… Him. The most freeing gift we could ever receive. The gift that honors, respects, LOVES, is gracious, compassionate, forgiving, humble, and free to whomever asks. So that million dollars you’ve been asking for or the dream home or the perfect marriage… sure, you may be given it, but God wants you to want Him more than that. He wants to know you intimately. He wants to open and close doors in our lives. He wants us to fully acknowledge, and realize that we are not in control, that our days are numbered, and that He holds it all in His big, beautiful, strong, and gentle hands. We will walk through uncomfortable and hard circumstances. Sometimes it will hurt more than words can describe. Sometimes the air will feel so thick it’s hard to breathe. Sometimes it will feel unfair, because to our eyes and hearts, it is that. It will feel scary at times, but we must continue to push forward, as we are called, leaning into not the things of this world, but the firm foundation we know is there to save us when everything feels like it’s gone to hell and back. God has it - even when we don’t feel like that’s true for us.
As we leave another week, let's lean into the fact that we are loved, treasured, sought after, pursued, and best of all forgiven. The real debt has been paid, so please join me in attempting to open my hands to hold everything loosely.
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13).