A Devotional

When “Letting Go” is Not So Easy

Michael Beck Michael Beck

It bothers us to see others distressed and distracted over something. Eli couldn’t understand what was happening in Hannah’s heart, but judged her after the seeing of his eyes. He supposed she was under the influence of demon spirits, having imbibed too much wine. After all, he was the caretaker of the house of the Lord and he was not going to have such wickedness find a place in God’s presence. (It would have been good if he had the same zeal in correcting his sons!) His word to her was sharp: “How long are you going to allow this demonic traffic in your life? Get rid of it!”

But, “the heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.” (Proverbs 14:10) Hannah had the courage to plead with the priest, telling him not to see her as a “daughter of Belial,” but a woman of a sorrowful spirit who was only pouring her heart out to the Lord. Eli then understood and entered into her sorrow, asking the Lord to grant her request.

It is easy for you to forget about someone else’s concerns, but not so easy for them. Their world is off-kilter. To tell them to let it go, like you would turn off a light switch, is not realistic or helpful.

We fear for people’s sanity when they are obsessing. It is true that we can become unhealthily focused and weighed down over a matter. But to glibly tell others to just “let it go” doesn’t work. The matter means something to them. They want resolve. It is easy for you to forget about someone else’s concerns, but not so easy for them. Their world is off-kilter. To tell them to let it go, like you would turn off a light switch, is not realistic or helpful.

God does not want bitterness of spirit over the way our life presently is to turn into obsession. Although the puzzle of our lives still has what we perceive is a missing part, God wants us to entrust all into His good and caring hands. Our prayers ascend to Him like the smoke of incense. Our tears are kept in His bottle. In all our affliction, He is afflicted. He is touched by the feeling of our infirmities. And He calls us to come with all our cares into His presence. He does not require us to always have a smile painted on our face. He will not condemn us for our sorrowful spirit and demand we forget about what’s bothering us. He will not simplistically tell us, “Don’t worry. Be happy!”

God would help us move forward and live in joy and peace even when we still have many things that could trouble and distract us. But having a peace that passes all understanding, that guards our heart and mind, does not mean we have forgotten about things that are dear and close and important to us. When we have poured our heart out to God, and we know that we have touched heaven’s throne, we can let something go in the right way. Only after we entrust something into God’s hands can we ever really let it go, and “go our way,” and eat, and be “no more sad.” Why? Because we can forget (to some degree) only when we know that God is remembering, and is “on the job.” We know He has undertaken for us and is mindful of us. We believe we will yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. He is our God and He will do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think.

Go easier on those around you. Have greater compassion. You don’t have to understand their issues. Unless you’re a robot, your issues affect you just as deeply. Don’t demand that people lighten up, get over it, or just let it go. “Letting go” does not work unless we have left it with God.


Michael Beck is a pastor in New York City and the main author on Signpost. You can find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter (@hissignpost).