This pithy phrase has grown in popularity over the past few years in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (and probably others, too).
You can see it on Instagram captions of high school selfies, Facebook “About Me” sections, t-shirts, coffee mugs, phone cases, and now even tattoos. But what does it mean?
Is it a God-honoring statement that Christians should use?
First off, let me begin by saying that I do not know the heart of the people who use “Let Go and Let God”, so my opinion is merely such, and I do not pretend to know every instance or situation in which this is used, but I will attempt to explain the two ends of the spectrum and hopefully reach a middle ground somewhere in-between.
A friend of mine, in the midst of divorce and child custody issues, once said that the only thing getting him through was the fact that he was “letting go and letting God”.
He was letting go of the worry and stress and utter pain in order to focus his mind on the ever-able strength of the One who could actually do something. He was letting go of control of the situation that was eating away at his brain and paralyzing his joy. He was letting go of everything worldly so that he might actually find rest and comfort in the only place he could in the midst of his entire life being shaken and his heart being shattered.
My friend graduated high school and went straight into working for a metal company, which he currently still works for; he does not have masters-scholar training in the bible, but my friend does possess the Helper (Jn. 14:26).
This Helper has helped my friend in his dire and desperate time of need by reminding him of Scripture that tells him of the Helper’s ever-present guidance (Ps. 46:1).
In this case, my friend has let go of his own reliance and has, in faith, grabbed hold of what he knows will hold true. This is Godly “Letting Go and Letting God” and I can easily say that God would be honored by such a though-process as this.
Unfortunately, though, this is a rare case in what I have experienced in my endeavors as a fly on the wall in church-goer conversations.
Sadly, the conversation never gets past that statement, and that, I believe, is a deadly place to be.
In one conversation that I overheard, a woman was ministering to a youth who had just lost a parent and in her attempt to comfort the youth, she was flippantly just throwing out, “Let Go and Let God”, as if the words in the flat and shallow sentence were going to jump straight into the heart of the person and heal the hurts they were experiencing.
I could almost feel the frustration of the woman as she could see the face of the student still in pain, still struggling.
The woman’s words of “wisdom” were not really wisdom at all.
The woman wanted to help this student so desperately, but failed to do so with the words she was using. Outside of the authoritative words of Scripture, words can sometimes inspire and sometimes help, but these words do nothing to sustain us.
What the youth needed was to feel the sustaining rest and comfort from the good news of Jesus Christ.
I do not mean that in the moment, the woman should have spouted off Romans 8 and left the child to deal with it, absolutely not.
Although I do not know the specifics, I feel that the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 147:3 might have been better: “He (God) heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Or even Jesus’ own words in Matthew: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Or maybe the youth did not need words at all and just needed a hug and someone to cry with them.
Sadly, though, in this case (and many others just like it), people are using “Let Go and Let God” as as the central go-to thought in their theology and in their life as if they are the words to live (and post selfies) by.
Instead of marinating in Scripture, instead of digging into the Word of the Creator, instead of basing their lives and thinking on the Bible, they are lazily cowering in the shallow comfort of their own thoughts.
Letting Go and Letting God, to them, means that they would rather say this sentence than actually do so, because actually letting go of anything that they hold dear is disturbingly difficult and flies in the face of every easy part of their life philosophy.
They do not understand the work that comes with letting go, nor, do I think, they truly want to.
People believe that letting go involves emptying their minds of anything difficult or that may cause them some sort of suffering and pain, thereby negating the very nature of God, who saw suffering as necessary in order to take away the wrath from our heads (1 Pet. 4:13).
We belittle those who are suffering, but most importantly we belittle God, when we say that suffering is not worth it and in so doing, we show how much we actually do not know about God.
And how can we “let God” when we do not even know him?
My fear is that many people may not know the God that they are speaking of in their meant-well words.
I understand, and can be empathetic, toward the fact that these people are trying to know God in saying “Let Go and Let God”, but, if this is you, I do not want you to stay in this thinking.
This God that you are “letting”, is more personally involved in your life than you know.
He upholds the universe with the same power that he upholds the breath in your lungs. He has created you for the glory of His holy name but in our lives we belittle that glory with our sin.
Because of this, we have wrath built up against us, we are no longer in unity with God.
The Creator God still knows you, and wants you to know him, so He sent his Son to be perfect where we could not, so that we could be clothed in that perfection and be able to know God.
If we do not care, if we do not believe that God has provided a way for us to get back to Him, to KNOW him again, then we will still have the wrath of God against us.
Wrath is either poured out on Christ or it will be poured out on us for eternity.
Plead with God for forgiveness so that you may know God and know Him in everlasting joy.
When we get to know God, we see and realize how much more desperately we are in need of letting go of any and everything that may hinder the seeking of that God, because in relational unity with Him, we find that our lives are full (Jn. 10:10).
So then, do not be annoyed by the person who says, “Let Go and Let God”, nor try to guess their heart in saying it, nor fear if you yourself have said it or have the t-shirt or the tattoo (some of them are really quite beautiful).
It is okay to say, because, in and of itself, it is not an evil phrase, nor are the people who use it.
But I do feel as though it is a poor, poor substitute for the soul-resting, mind-thrilling, joy-chasing good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let our lives be evidently clear of this, in whatever we say, so that we may not fall short of giving people what they actually need when they need it instead of lazily taking hold of something that mere men have authenticated.
– Jacob Simmons, Family Pastor