“If we have too many worries, fears, and doubts, we have no room for living and loving. We need to practice letting go.” ~Thich Nhat Hahhn
18 Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
19 I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert. ~Isaiah 43: 18-19
It’s so easy to cling to “former things.” Former things like a favourite possession that we might have lost, sold, or given away, or a previous home or city where we once lived. The former things might be related to church or society as we remember the way things used to be, and how things used to be done. We can cling to other former things, too, like an idea or an opinion, so much so that often there is no room for any other dialogue or conversation. And whether it was three months ago or fifty years ago, we can sometimes cling so desperately to “former” things, especially beliefs and ideas, that it becomes difficult to adapt to the current reality and see that God might be doing a new thing. Clinging to former things in this way prevents us from accepting what is and it stands in the way of us moving forward in our lives and in our faith. Clinging to former things can have a detrimental impact on our present and our future. Be it relationships, health, or our spiritual lives, holding on to former things too closely does not allow room for loving and living in the present moment.
Letting go of that to which we cling is not easy. But there is a truth in the practice of letting go: it frees us to live and love today. God puts it another way through the words of the prophet, Isaiah: I am about to do a new thing. And that new thing is God’s life-giving grace, new life, and new possibility for us. It is especially important to keep that in mind in this time of pandemic, when so much of our lives are disrupted by this thing we cannot control. We can be assured that even during a pandemic, God is doing a new thing. God will make streams in the desert, new life will spring forth, new possibilities will emerge of which we could not have dreamed previously. We ask God’s grace to help us let go and trust that God is doing a new thing.
God of mercy and grace, it is so hard to let go, to trust that you are doing a new thing, and that it will be good. Give us calm hearts and such a deep faith in you that we can let go and trust that your new, transformative possibilities for us are even better than any of the former things that we cling to. We thank you that we are freed from former things, worry, doubt, and fear so that we can live and love in Jesus’ name, whose resurrection life is the most amazing new thing ever. Amen.