I’ve been known to tell the Lord a thing or two when I’ve been outraged, hurt, or completely frustrated. Maybe this is the second or third time I’ve gone down the same road, and I still think I can navigate it just fine. Why do I need the Lord now?
There have been other times I’ve collapsed, in sheer exhaustion, giving up my own desires, admitting that I actually do need help. Maybe what I thought was going to be a rough road—because I was still internally fighting—ended up being an easy road because I stopped pitting my will against the Lord’s. And that’s when I finally realized I needed the Lord now, more than ever! There’s a lesson buried somewhere in there.
My will, not His.
His will, not Mine.
So much of life can be artificial; a painted façade that gives others the illusion of control, but here’s the thing. I finally understand that God wants me to figure out, for myself, that letting go—of whatever control I think I have—will finally allow Him to work miracles in my life. It’s another act of love on His part that He is willing to patiently wait until I realize that the best road to take is His road. While I work my way up that difficult road, thinking I’m all alone, I simply need to turn slightly to get a glimpse of Him walking beside me, waiting for me to “let go, and let God.”
I really like that little phrase: “Let go, and let God.” So many times I find myself hanging onto the old way that just doesn’t seem to work. Why do we spend so much energy in something that is forced, a farce of happiness that is never going to bring that satisfied joy that only comes as a result of obedience? And though I keep pretending, thinking that some day happiness is going to come, I begin settling for counterfeits that paint a façade of happiness, yet do nothing but simply rationalize and uphold my own stubbornness.
There are some who have been stubborn so long that they think by holding out they can finally find happiness in sin and by obeying commandments they have corrupted. They still push along on their solitary road. As they continue, the road will dead-end, and they will finally realize that all along they were deceived, living a lie, and they will see that they have finally arrived in their “own place” (D&C 88:32), which is not a good place.
In the Book of Mormon, we learn of Sherem, an anti-Christ (see Jacob 7). As we know, Sherem wanted a sign, before he was willing to “let go.” Silly Sherem. Your entire life is a sign. God gave you a body to use freely, to believe freely, and to choose freely. He gave you so much in life to enjoy, no one has ever been able to get enough of it. We all want to keep living, enjoying this life. If our lives turn south, it’s likely because we have refused and rejected what has already been given to us freely. God knows that by keeping His commandments, our happiness will grow exponentially. Hard times will strengthen us and become easier. Faith will be tested, but the refining fire will assure our testimonies. God’s way can surround us, and our happiness can know no bounds.
As we know, Jacob left it up to the Lord to do what He would to Sherem. Here’s the interesting thing: Sherem went into a deep sleep, where he was “nourished for the space of many days” (Jacob 7:15). We might assume the same thing would happen to him as happened to Alma the Younger and King Lamoni. He, unfortunately, had committed the unpardonable sin, which is to deny the Holy Ghost. He knew truth, had held to a testimony at one time. By the time he confessed everything to the multitude, his time on earth had ended, and he was forced to give up the ghost.
God weeps in heaven at the loss of His precious children.
What are the lessons to be learned here?
3. Stop justifying bad behavior. When found off track (and we all do this occasionally!), be willing to “let go, and let God” before you reach a point where you can no longer feel that loving nudge by the Holy Ghost.
And what of the multitude? What are they left with in the aftermath?
After Nehor was executed, the scriptures let us know that many still taught false doctrine. Evil rarely goes completely away. But those who chose righteousness were “steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them” (Alma 1:25).
Living our lives daily in Christ demands that we not be complacent. Choosing Jesus Christ must be a daily event. Following the prophet must be our guiding star. Staying on the path while clinging to the iron rod must be a decision we are never ashamed of. “Do not risk one more offense against your God upon those points of doctrine, which ye have hitherto risked to commit sin” (Alma 41:9). There are some of us who waffle around old comfortable habits, habits that don’t seem to hurt anyone else, yet pull us away from Christ. It is a risk many of us casually take.
The way is still open to “let go, and let God” lead the way. We can choose to receive the “greater portion of the words, until it is given unto [us] to know the mysteries of God until [we] know them in full” (Alma 12:10-11). Elder Neal A. Maxwell said,
“So many of us are kept from eventual consecration because we mistakenly think that, somehow, by letting our will be swallowed up in the will of God, we lose our individuality (see Mosiah 15:7). What we are really worried about, of course, is not giving up self, but selfish things—like our roles, our time, our preeminence, and our possessions” (Neal A. Maxwell, “Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father,” Oct 1995).
Giving up our control, or our will, allows our Heavenly Father to work the miracles in our lives. When we stop fighting against God, we learn to take His hand and be lifted out of the minutia this world offers, and walk in the light. When bad things happen to us, let us seek advice and help from the Lord, allowing His love to wash over us. When we choose the good in life, let us realize it comes from a loving God who waits for us to choose Him, and accept His truth.
May we simply let go, and let God.