The following articles are excerpts from ”Letting Go”, a book I wrote with Paul Gilbert that was recently published by Zondervan.
“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.”
These lyrics from the classic hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” describe life in a broken world.
We’re prone to wander from the One we love.
Most of our wandering is pretty routine, sometimes predictable. We all know that life in this world is not Eden. The world is fallen, broken, and cursed. We live where fouler winds blow, where relationships are hard, and saints suffer. A life where we often want more than we have. We envy, lust, or get angry when things don’t go our way. We’re not yet what we will be. Life gets messy.
Sinners sin. It’s been that way since the beginning.
But there are times when wrong behavior takes a particularly destructive turn. The saint goes sideways. A spouse cheats, a child rebels and runs away, or a friend betrays our trust. And they don’t even seem to care.
When someone we love goes rogue and doesn’t repent, we feel lost. Few things crush us more than this experience.
This is nothing new, of course. Cain was the first kid ever conceived on earth. His mom and dad walked with God in paradise. Adam worked in a garden there and enjoyed afternoon chats with the Creator of the Cosmos. But Adam and Eve chose their own way, and their sentence was life in a fallen world, a place where sin now holds dominion and has cursed every relationship.
Sin crouched at their son Cain’s door, and he invited it in to party. Cain killed his brother Abel, and he lived the remainder of his days with a mark to prove it. Adam and Eve raised a murderer.
Sometimes people who claim to walk with God do despicable things. They reject the roles they once appeared to cherish.
Just like King David.
David had an empire, a loyal army, and God on his side. But he went dark and sought to bed down Bathsheba, the wife of another man. Since her husband was an obstacle, David arranged to have him killed to indulge his greedy lust and hide his sin.
David didn’t just wander off, like a misguided lamb from his pen. Lies. Lust. Deception. Premeditated murder. David careened off the cliff like a possessed pig, carrying those who trusted him all the way to the bottom.
But David’s story doesn’t end there. He eventually repented. A prophet loved him enough to speak truth. By God’s grace, David responded and then cried out to God for forgiveness and God forgave him. But David’s sinful decisions still caused great pain and created consequences that would spill over on generations to come.
Both Cain and David rejected the roles they were called to. They had great potential, but descended to a place where they ignored the truth, rejected counsel, and abandoned their calling. They could have cared less about who they hurt. One found repentance, but even then, much damage had still been done.
When someone you love plays in the mud, everyone gets splattered. They may eventually regret it. But from where you stand right now, regret, repentance, even civility, seem to them like a toxic drink to be avoided.
That’s where I want to begin, with these bleeding gashes from the hit-and-run you never saw coming; with the relational complexity and daily uncertainty that you feel. You don’t understand the present, and you don’t know the future. All you have are questions.
Why is this happening?
Is this my fault?
Why do I feel so ashamed?
If this person is sucking all the life out of me, why do I feel guilty?
These are really good questions, and these articles based on Letting Go will try to answer them in light of God’s truth. But we also want to change the questions so that you experience the grace that comes from gospel answers.
Will you join us on this journey?