Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Letting Go and Trusting God

I had never seen her look more beautiful. My second oldest daughter, Maris was in her bridal suite alone. All the attendants were gone, while her bridesmaids, her mother and sisters were all lined up and ready to begin the wedding procession from the church foyer. I was alone with her enjoying the special privilege the father of a bride has in seeing the woman of honor in all her splendor before she is presented to the world and her groom. We shared a few funny thoughts and a few serious ones as well before we received our cue to begin our regal march down the aisle.

As the familiar strains of the wedding march piped through the organ, Maris and I began our trek towards the altar. As we stylish strode forward, it almost seemed as if all the major scenes of her life as a little girl, adolescent, teenager and young adult flashed through my mind. When we arrived at the end of our short journey, my dear friend Dr. Ken Render opened the ceremony reminding us of the sweet but solemn purpose for which we were assembled and eventually asked the question every father dreads to hear: “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” The question rattled around in my head for a moment, resting on the eventuality of an answer that was as obvious as it was succinct – “Her mother and I.” I answered. With that answer, I gently took her hand and placed it directly into the hands of Stephen, the man destined to take the lead in standing for her and by her in all of the varied experiences in life. My role had changed. My life was changed. My daughter was now in the hands of another whom I had to trust. Nevertheless, as I looked up at the altar in front of which my friend stood and remembered what it represented, I knew where my ultimate trust was placed.

The Lord in Whose presence they changed vows was the same Lord Who had sustained our Maris in an amazing assortment of tests and storms. He was the same Lord Who had guided her mother and I through periods of seemingly unbearable anguish and upheld us in unbelievable times of challenge and difficulty. This same Jesus had never abandoned us in our most desperate despair and I knew as I initially watched and later myself officiated my daughter’s marriage ceremony that He would prove just as faithful to her and her groom. This “great and terrible” day that I alternately loved and hated was a potent reminder of the eternal being of our God and the imperative that rests upon all people to depend on Him and Him alone.

Just as the nature of my relationship with my daughter Maris has changed, life in general changes and continues to present a never-ending cavalcade of new situations, circumstances and dispositions with which all people must cope. In the midst of such fluidity, I take great comfort in this unshakeable truth: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Malachi 3:6 reaffirms this truth with the Lord God’s words, “For I am the LORD, I do not change.” As we approach the end of another year and face the uncertainty of 12 unseen months ahead, take confidence in the steady, unchanging hand of the Lord. He is faithful. He is trustworthy. He is dependable. He can be counted on! Hard times may await you, and trials may rage against you with the intensity of a pounding surf, but take heart in the knowledge that a good and gracious God will uphold you and supply you abundantly with His grace and comfort if you will only trust Him. Because of this, I can let go of my daughter’s hand, knowing that the Everlasting Arms will ultimately provide all the strength and protection needed for every situation that awaits her. Are you ready to let go? Put your trust in the Lord and let Him lead you to the next step and beyond for His glory and His Kingdom. Until next time…


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