LET IT BE!
BY: JAN A. ANTONSSON
AUGUST 2, 2014
The Glory Road Blog A Kingdom Highway
“And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isa. 40:5).
The mystical arias of Handel’s Messiah are playing as I write this. When I’m particularly agitated, worried, or fretting about something, I find comfort in the musical rendition of these words which have inspired and lifted me up out of despair countless times. He who “telleth good tidings to Zion” is always present in our lives, but hearing him through the static sometimes takes all my concentration and God’s grace. The world is always in a state of shock, panic, hubris, or devastation it seems, but the worse peace robbers are the things that hit our own bodies, emotions and minds, or those which affect our family and friends.
My thanks for this title to our dear friend, John Gavazzoni, who when e-mailing me about a personal issue he deals with on a recurring basis, wrote the following: “When I get near such a point [of total exasperation], I’ve had the prayer come up from deep within, “Let it be.” It’s another season for me of being broken to accept this all as the hand of the Lord.” End Quote.
The phrase, “Let it be” probes deep into the human psyche, and disquiets our comfort zones, because it explodes the illusion that we are in control of anything or anyone, and points us to the only One who has control: the comforter and also the disquieter of Israel.
Isaiah is my favorite Old Testament prophet because he tells the truth with brutal honesty, but never leaves the hapless children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob without hope. The aria entitled, “Comfort Ye My People,” brings me to tears with the Good News it contains: “Give comfort, give comfort, to my people, says your God. Say kind words to the heart of Jerusalem, crying out to her that her time of trouble is ended, that her punishment is complete; that she has been rewarded by the Lord’s hand twice over for all her sins” (Isa. 40.1-2, BBE).
For surely, no city except perhaps Sodom and Gomorrah, committed worse atrocities against almighty God than Jerusalem, and yet God says to comfort her and tell her that her punishment is complete. Better still, God’s comfort was twice as good as her sins were bad. To me, that’s exactly Paul’s message when he wrote that where sin abounds, grace does much MORE abound (Rom. 5:20).
Still, I don’t know any one who sacrifices children to pagan gods, worships idols, or outright spits in God’s face. Do you? All of that idolatry, witchcraft, fornication with temple priestesses, rebellion, “taking counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed” (Ps. 2:2), and more, abounded in Jerusalem. God punished them, but it didn’t help much to change their behavior.
The children of Israel were like an old barn that the prophets and priests attempted to fix up. They may have occasionally put on a new roof, and a coat of paint perhaps, but it’s still an old barn waiting for a good wind to blow it over. They had hearts of stone. I don’t really know anyone like that, do you?
Christian people like that are scarcely seen today because God’s solution was a heart transplant. Ezekiel wrote: “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances” (Ezek 36:26-27). Along with this new heart, God gave us a new and better covenant, one designed specifically to provide course correction to us, for: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). He did that by sending His only begotten Son into this morass of sin and corruption, to point us to our Father’s love.
We couldn’t love ourselves, let alone anyone else and certainly not God, because we didn’t know what love looks like, feels like, or how it behaves. Jesus took all our doubts and fear to the cross with Him. Only an act of this dynamic, self-sacrificing kind of love could get our attention and turn our faces toward Jesus, the lover of our souls, the forgiver of all our sins, past, present, and future, and the giver of His life with which to live ours.
The world which confronts us everyday is often bleak and black, needy, greedy, and proud, unable to get out of its own way. Yet, this is the place where we are planted and expected to thrive. Adding to the challenges and problems we must navigate, is the expectation that we must deal lovingly with others. How is that possible? John the Beloved wrote, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the Day of Judgment, because as he is so are we in this world” (I John 4:15-17).
Did you get that? If God abides in us, and He does, John said that we are like Him in this world. Jonathan Mitchell translates Vs 17, this way: “Within this the Love has been brought to its goal, been matured, reached its destiny and is now perfected with us, to the end that we may continuously have confident freedom of speech (the boldness of a citizen to speak publicly without fear of punishment) within the day of sifting and separation (distinction, evaluation and decision; judging; judicial proceeding; or: administering of justice), because just as That One is, we also continuously exist being: within the midst of this ordered System.”
Somewhere alone the way, we missed the impact of that powerful statement. “As he is, so are we in this world!” Where did we lose our way; why do I struggle so, if that be true? How do I tap into that power? It has been my urgent need to find out since He baptized me in His Spirit.
My problem is that once I saw the possibilities of this truth, I set about to get there on my own, to be like Him by the exercise of my own will. Self effort kicked in and I was off on many roads that led only to frustration and angst. Our dear friend Alan McSavage described this phenomena as “running down every rabbit hole you come to.” I’ll tell you this, none of them led to Wonderland. No worries about all this huffing and puffing, trying and failing though, because, as Jeremiah said to Israel, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter’s vessel, so that it can never be mended” (Jer. 19:11). The self efforts Jeremiah spoke of look different than ours do, of course, but the end result is the same. Nevertheless, whatever stands in His way, God will “break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Ps. 2:9).
This is not punishment, nor is it because God is angry. Long ago, I came to the realization that God uses “course corrections” to help us back on the path He wants us to travel. By man came death, and by man came also the resurrection from the dead. Christ, who is our life, IS our built in GPS, guiding us home to Him.
What it takes to get there is to lay down our arms, surrender, give up, and stop trying to fix ourselves or people we love. That’s above our “pay grade,” dear friends. It is God’s job and He will do it in His time. That’s usually the problem, of course, because we want Him to do it in OUR time. The end is written: “We shall be changed,” not by might, not by power, but by my spirit saith the Lord.
That brings us back to the statement John Gavazzoni heard from the Spirit: “Let it be.” It touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes, as I intuited that it was for me and for you as well. It is God’s promise to take us from whatever cactus patch or pigpen we find ourselves in, and lift us up to Zion’s lofty peaks where we are seated with Him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Father, we sing with all the saints, “Blessing and honor and power be unto Him that is seated upon the throne and unto the Lamb.” “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” Blessing, honor, glory, and power for ever and ever. The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. Amen.