Letting Go: The First Step Beyond

By Mark A. Taylor

God is here.

God is in control.

I am not in control.

And I don’t want to be.

That simple testimony, offered by a middle-aged woman in a church service I visited this summer, has stayed with me through all the weeks since. She spoke of how God washed away her fears about her health and her family. She found peace when she finally decided to quit worrying and just submit her anxieties to him.

“The last sentence is the biggest challenge,” someone in my group remarked afterwards. Almost everyone will say that God, or a god, exists. Many will give intellectual assent to the idea that he is in charge. And some will admit they can’t control their health or the economy or their kids or their retirement income. But that doesn’t mean they don’t try, and it doesn’t mean they aren’t angered or at least stressed when things don’t work out as they planned.

It seems no matter how many times we may sing “All to Jesus I Surrender,” we still find something clutched in our fists that we’ve yet to yield to him.

Ben Cachiaras spoke of this to the North American Christian Convention continuation committee last fall. He handed each member a four-inch square of fish net as he reminded them of Jesus’ call to his first disciples. When Simon Peter and Andrew heard his challenge to “come, follow me,” they immediately “left their nets” to obey him (Matthew 4:20). In fact, Luke says they “left everything” to become his followers (5:11).

Ben’s challenge: “What are you holding on to that’s keeping you from reaching your potential as a servant of Christ?” Whatever it is, leaving it behind may begin the journey to a joy beyond what we could have imagined.

A few thousand readers of this special issue will be immersed and buoyed by that challenge as they attend the sessions of the convention Ben leads this July. But every reader can consider the articles in our convention-themed section this week and ponder the possibility of following new pathways.

In an ongoing effort to serve you better, the editors of CHRISTIAN STANDARD are thinking of ways to serve you differently. We’d like to know how you’re using this magazine now. And we’d like your reaction to a couple of new possibilities. Our survey is short; you’ll complete it quickly. Please find it at www.surveymonkey.com/s/ChrS.

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