Holding On or Letting Go

by Candy Arrington @CandyArrington

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways obey him. Then he will make your paths smooth and straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIRV.

I sat in the church parking lot with a tithe envelope in one hand and my check book in the other. The finance office was about to close. Tomorrow heralded a new year. My head and heart were at war—should I write a check for the amount necessary to complete our tithe for the year, wiping out checking account in the process?

I closed my eyes. Father, I’m sorry we’ve been unfaithful. We’ve let other things take priority.

My mind drifted to unexpected out-of-pocket medical expenses, car repairs, college tuition, an expensive vacation, and purchased items we didn’t really need. Invariably, the tithe check was written last. Overwhelmed by an honest evaluation, my tears flowed.

Trust me, whispered God.

I took a pen from my purse and wrote a check for the full balance of our checking account, sealed the envelope, opened the car door against the whipping wind, and made my way across the parking lot and into the church. Although I knew I was doing the right thing, nagging doubts plagued me. How would we function until our next check arrived?

Pulling in the driveway at home, I got out and opened the mailbox. As I sifted through the mail, a return address caught my attention—my publisher. I jumped back into the warm car and ripped the envelope open. Inside was a royalty check that was almost enough to cover our expenses until the next pay check. Thank you, God!

Further down in the stack was a package. Enclosed were two books in which I contributed stories almost three years before. I’d given up on ever receiving copies.

Once inside, I threw away the remnants of the package along with junk mail. But every time I walked by the trashcan, I felt uneasy. The feeling persisted. Finally, I fished the package out and looked inside. A folded piece of paper was wedged in a bottom corner. I took it out and gasped. It was a check for $200. Laughter spilled out of my mouth. Father, not only do you provide, but with such creativity. How could I ever have doubted you?

 Sometimes, it isn’t easy to let go and follow God’s directives, especially if they seem impractical or don’t make sense to us. When God told Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus and stay there until it was safe to return, Joseph immediately obeyed. He didn’t wait until morning. Matthew 2:14 says that Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left for Egypt that night. Joseph’s unquestioning obedience saved Jesus’ life.

 Human nature inclines us to hold on, tightfisted, to things within our grasp, delaying our immediate steps of obedience, fearing what lies ahead. Faith whispers, trust God and let go.

He knows what He is doing. We can trust Him to be faithful. As Paul wrote in gratitude to the Philippians’ sacrificial gift to him, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NASB).

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Holding On or Letting Go – insight from @CandyArrington on @AriseDailydevo (Click to Tweet)

Candy ArringtonAbout the author: Candy Arrington has written hundreds of articles and devotionals, often on tough topics. Her books include AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H) and When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House). Candy is a native South Carolinian, who gains writing inspiration from historic architecture, vintage photographs, nature, and the application of Biblical principles to everyday life. Learn more about Candy at www.CandyArrington.com, where you can also read her blog, Forward Motion: Moving Beyond What Holds You Back.

Candy’s book, When Your Aging Parent Needs Care, is a help to those who face the special effort of caring for a parent. It provides support and direction to enable the caregiver to be spiritually, physically, and emotionally prepared for the day to day challenges they face.

Join the conversation: How has God provided for you in a time when you were out of resources?

 

Hope Makes All the Difference

by Julie Zine Coleman

When I was a little girl, our family of four bravely ventured out from Connecticut to visit relatives in Florida. We Zines weren’t big travelers, so this trip was a very big deal. It was July. We would drive for three days, stopping at hotels each night. Exciting times.

The first day didn’t go too badly. We drove as far as Washington, D.C., and took a quick tour of the sights. The second day: not so pleasant. Margie and I had already blown through the new toys our mom bought for the trip. We were tired of being in the car. My poor little sister got carsick—necessitating several emergency stops. And it was HOT. We were driving through a record heat wave with no air conditioning. By the time we hit South Carolina, every one of us was wilted and desperate to get out of that car.

Dad pulled into the first decent motel. No vacancy. That began a nightmarish hour of driving from hotel after hotel, to no avail. Finally, a kind hotel clerk called around and found us a place to stay. When we wearily pulled up to our lodging, we just about kissed the ground of its parking lot.

The next morning, Dad took a new tactic. Before we left he called ahead to the next stop and made a reservation. We traveled that day knowing that no matter what happened on the road, a cool swim in a hotel pool and a soft bed awaited us. It made all the difference in how we faced another day’s journey.

As believers, we know how the road we travel will end. One day we will stand before God’s throne, face to face with our precious Savior. It will be the day when our faith will become sight. There will be no more crying, no more sorrow.  We will finally begin to grasp how perfectly we have been loved. Our struggle with our sin nature will be behind us, as we will finally be like Jesus, totally transformed and complete. What a fabulous day that will be.

Knowing all that should impact how we conduct ourselves in the journey.

I wonder if that is why Peter called it a living hope (1 Peter 1:3). For it is not only a hope for our eternal future; this hope has tremendous implications for our lives in the here and now.

Knowing what ultimately lies ahead makes the trip through this life bearable. It supplies the light at the end of the tunnel which beckons us on to our glorious and final destination. Our name is written in the book of life (Rev 20:12), an eternal reservation, with all of the benefits an eternity with God will entail. And we can be sure that the God who planned and orchestrated it all is at present faithfully by our side as we run toward that finish line.

Author Frederick Buechner wrote that Christ’s “resurrection means the worst thing is never the last thing.” No matter what tragedy or failures befall us, no matter how difficult our life on earth is right now, we already how it ends. We can trust in our faithful God to move us toward a glorious future, even when things are looking grim.

Hope makes all the difference.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10: 23 NASB

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the author: Julie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Her award-winning book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was published in 2013 by Thomas Nelson. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 2.39.03 PMfrom today’s comments. To enter our contest for Julie’s book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: How has your hope impacted your life in the here and now?