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December 15, 2017

Release with Hope


The prayer of relinquishment is accompanied by the necessity of struggle. There's really no way around this. God has convicted me before of keeping my distance from him in prayer because I know moving closer means struggle is coming. Paul said "I want to know Christ." We all want that part, but then he said "in the fellowship of his sufferings." That part is harder, but its the only way to intimacy. My wife and I recently celebrated our twenty year anniversary. We've had many amazing years, but there has also been pain and struggle along the way. I'm glad we made a decision when we were first married to never let anything come between us. We've gone through the good times and difficult times together. As a result we have a much richer and deeper relationship than I could have ever imagined.

Foster doesn't leave us with the struggle, but encourages us that this complete letting go is a "release of hope." He says "We are buoyed up by a confident trust in the character of God." Our letting go does not lead to hopelessness but hopefulness. This is one of the things I love so much about the Scriptures. They are filled with narratives of hope, stories of struggle surrounded by God's goodness, his faithfulness, and redemption through Jesus Christ. The martyred missionary Jim Elliot said "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." And it was Jesus who said "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24).