Sitting here in my office, my thoughts rest on the events leading up to my grandmother’s passing and funeral. We were all blessed to be able to gather around her in her last few days. [She was a godly woman so no worries there!]
The funeral does not hold much weight in my memory. What does, however, are the memories of us singing hymns to her and talking with her – memories of comforting each other and reminiscing as we looked through photo albums and recounted stories not heard by some in the room. I can still hear the prayers that were lifted up in the Hospice room.
When Jalynn was younger, we had a sandbox just outside our garage. I remember one day, in particular because it was hot, but also because of the lesson God taught me through her. Because it was so hot, the sand was all dry. Packing it into a bucket to make a castle was not going to happen. So Jalynn and I came up with another game and it involved simply moving sand from one side of the sandbox to the other. She would take both her hands and reach down into the sand and grab all the sand she could wrap her fingers around. Then she would turn to her side and drop the sand into the pile she was making. Only as she was in the process of moving, the sand would slip through her fingers. By the time she was ready to drop the sand, there wasn’t much left for her to drop.
I let her continue for a few minutes in her attempt of moving the sand until she became frustrated enough to express it to me. I explained to her that she had held too tight a hold on the sand and that the harder she tried to hang on to it, the more it would slip through her fingers. What she needed to do was to cup her hands and let me pour sand into them. Immediately she was empowered! With her hands cupped and ready, I scooped sand into them and she moved to her pile and deposited the sand.
As we worked through the sand, it occurred to me that life is much the same way. We try to grab as much of life as we can, obsessed with capturing every moment, grabbing for as much material as we can, not letting go and trusting. We hang on too tight! But the tighter we grip it, the more of it slips through our fingers. And God watches us like I watched Jalynn, waiting for us to turn to Him and express our exasperation when life seems to be slipping through our fingers even though we are squeezing as hard as we can.
The tighter we hold life, the more of it slips through our hands. Funny thing about that position of our hands. When they are gripped around something, they are not in a good position to receive anything. Hands that are closed cannot receive anything and what could be poured out into them spills off the top and hits the ground.
This reflects our attitude and heart when we are unwilling to let go.
Our attitude and heart, however, change when we let go of what we are gripping so tight and cup our hands in submission and ready to receive. Our attitude becomes one of submissive obedience, ready to trust God and release our anxious notions to Him. When our hands are cupped and ready to receive, so to is our attitude. And with that attitude, God can pour into us exactly what we need. God wants us to trust Him, to let go and allow Him to do what He does best – lovingly lead us and care for us. And what do we get in return? Peace!
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Phil. 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When I reach the end of my life, I want to look back and see an empty pile of sand on one side of the sandbox, and a big pile on the other. I want to see where I’ve lived my life to the fullest – where I’ve dared to trust God and take Him at His Word, and mark where He has kept it!
I witnessed this in that Hospice room – a big pile of sand where my Mamaw [that’s what I called my grandmother] had lived her life, not gripping it so tight that it slipped through her fingers, but in complete trust of her Savior. She invested herself into the lives surrounding hers. I was proud of her.
I guess that’s why my thoughts are not resting on the funeral, but on all that occurred before the funeral – her life. She lived her life open to the Lord, hands and heart cupped in humble submission, obedient to her Savior.
How about you? Are you holding so tight that it seems your days slip through your fingers? You only get one version of today. Why not make the most of it? Let go, trust God, and lean on His understanding rather than your own. All we can see is what’s right in front of us. Don’t forget that He sees from one end of eternity to the other! Let go of what keeps you anxious, allowing His peace to completely fill you and guard you. Unclench your hands and open them up to receive and submit to Him!
So…what’s holding you back?