Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. ~ Joshua 1:9; The Message
I knew that, whatever happened next, I couldn’t let go of our dog. All 80-odd lbs. of him was hurling forward, determined to clobber the dog on the other side of the fence. But, I wasn’t about to let that happen.
It all went down early one morning when I was out for a walk in the neighborhood with Chewy, our 11-month-old German Shepherd. Chewy is all exuberant puppy, despite his massive size. He was relatively calm until he saw that other dog, and was instantly transformed into a crazed, barking lunatic. As he took off, I held on for dear life, falling to my knees, trying to tackle him. Out of breath, but with the adrenaline pumping, I still managed to scream a few choice words at him. Every time I’d start to pull him away, he’d plunge forward again. Finally, we managed to get out of there, with everyone intact and unhurt. Though I’m pretty sure the commotion woke up some of the neighbors.
Ever tried really hard not to let someone, or something go? You try to hold onto to a dog who’s intent on getting way… you hold onto another person who’s about to leave… you hold onto a relationship that’s troubled, or a dream that’s fading, or a hope that’s grown dim. You hold on tight, your grip increasing until your knuckles are white and your nerves are shot.
Sometimes, though, there are instances when we have to let go. When there’s no other viable option. When the prognosis isn’t going to get better… the damage to the relationship is irreversible… the bridge is burned… the decision is made… there’s nothing left to do or to say. Then we seek strength to do what we know we must.
Someone once said that courage isn’t the absence of fear- it’s the judgement that something else is more important than the fear. When we stand at a crossroads, may God grant us perspective. May we be strong, have courage, and continue placing one foot in front of the other.
Let’s pray together:
God our Guardian,
Sometimes it’s not about giving up, it’s about letting go. Grant that we’d know when a door has closed, even as we seek out an open window. In times of uncertainty, when we feel weak and scared, call us by name and show the way that leads forward. Amen.