"Let go and let God." It's one of those sayings you may have heard thrown around in conversations or given as trite advice. The phrase "Let go and let God" has been absorbed into the amoeba of sayings that float around Christian circles. Before we go any further let’s clear this out of the way—"Let go and let God" is NOT found in the Bible. But is there anything we can take from this saying?
One of the most popular interpretations of "Let go and let God" is the belief that all we really need to do is...stop. Picture a cork bobbing in the water, doing nothing. As if we’re just going, “OK God, I’m just hanging out here, waiting for you to push me one way or the other.” This state of inactivity is NOT what God has planned for our lives.
We’re not supposed to just hang out and wait for God or circumstances in life to nudge us to and fro. The Bible is full of imagery of believers fighting the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12) or running the race with endurance that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1-2).
You don’t have to be a sports person to know that you can’t run a race without striving or making an effort. You don’t float your way to a finish line. You must take action—to train, to run, to win, to make any progress at all!
Here's why we aren’t just completely throwing out the saying "Let go and let God." While we continue striving forward, we must also trust that God is right there with us, equipping us for the work He's given us. It’s more than that He’s just got our back. He's giving us the ability to run ahead, to follow the path He has set before us, to stay on course.
Jesus describes it this way, "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). The branches need the vine to survive, just as we need Jesus to live every day.
Now, we have to address one more thing. Sometimes we can’t run. Sometimes we're striving to do the work God has put before us, and yet the racetrack seems filled with pitfalls and mud and traps—and we feel ourselves sinking into the ground. Then what? Is this when we "Let go and let God"? What can these five little words teach when trials befall us and we're struggling to even take one step?
"Let go and let God" can be a reminder that God is still there, that He never left us. Maybe we stopped looking for Him because we were too busy being confused by our surroundings. Just because the path is no longer clear to US, that doesn’t mean it was an unexpected plot twist to God. He is omniscient and fully aware of what's happening. We can "let go" of anxiety and stress about what might happen and "let God" be present with His peace, trusting in His love and care for us (Philippians 4:7).
"God works all things together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose." —Romans 8:28
"Let go and let God" can be a reminder to cling to our faith. I don’t know about you, but when my plans are all messed up, the first thing I want to do is fix it. I have a tendency to "check my checking account" before I go to God. I try to figure out how can I, in my own power, can fix this thing before it becomes too uncomfortable. And that is where we have come full circle...
This is where we take that trial, that struggle, and place it in God’s hands, trusting that He has not abandoned us. We let go of the anguish and trust Him. No, it's not always easy. But in those moments, take a deep breath (or two or three), then hand it all over to Him.
"Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns." —1 Peter 1:7
"Let go and let God" is not found in the Bible. The most common interpretation is that all we need to do is stop making an effort in our lives so that God can do all the work. This is not biblical. Effort is required to grow our faith and struggling is often a part of that work. Instead, we can interpret "Let go and let God" to mean: "Don't try to fix everything all by yourself. Trust in God's presence and His help" (Romans 8:28).
Heidi Joelle spends her days staring at paperwork and making sure it is where it is supposed to be, how it is supposed to be, when it is supposed to be. And then she comes home and makes sure the porky little dog isn't eating a trashcan. Between these two events, she tries to learn and see as much of the world around her as possible.