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Leading in a Crisis: Let Go and Know God

March 31, 2020 • Life for Leaders

“Be still, and know that I am God!
+++I am exalted among the nations,
+++I am exalted in the earth.”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
+++the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Psalm 46:10-11 (NRSV)

 

The slogan “Let Go and Let God!” was popular back in the day. It appeared on bumper stickers, church signs, and Christian bookstore paraphernalia. I believe it originated in Alcoholics Anonymous. But its popularity soon spread far beyond that 12-step program. Whether you struggled with an addiction or not, it was good to be reminded to “Let Go and Let God.”

Psalm 46 offers something similar to this, though in a slightly different form. In English translation, the first part of verse 10 reads, “Be still, and know that I am God!” That’s a fine translation as well as a fine exhortation. But if you were to dig into the original Hebrew of this verse, you’d find something surprising. The verb translated as “be still” (rafa in the Hiphil stem) literally means “let drop” or “let go.” It’s not an exaggeration to say that the psalm writer meant to say, “Let go, and know that I am God,” or, more briefly, “Let go and know God!”

What a crucial imperative for leaders in all times and places, but especially in a time of crisis. As we finish this Life for Leaders series on “Leading in a Crisis: The Difference God Makes,” I can think of no better place to end. We who lead in this day – whether in our businesses or stores, our schools or churches, our city councils or families – need to hear and follow the simple exhortation: Let go and know God!

What enables us to let go of our fears and worries, to let go of our need to control things behind our power? Our knowledge of God. And who is God? Psalm 46 reveals God as: our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, the Lord of heaven’s armies, the God of Jacob, the one who is working on earth, the one who makes wars cease, and the one who is exalted in the earth. The more we know God in these ways, the more we experience God’s power, presence, and protection, the more we will be able to let go and know God. Then, we will also “Let go and let God” in the sense that we will surrender our need to be in charge, our bearing the burden that is not ours to bear, our feeble attempt to carry the yoke that the Lord’s alone.

Being still includes but isn’t only a matter of quietness. Yes, it’s slowing down our rushing minds. It’s calming our racing hearts. It’s listening rather than chattering. It’s praying rather than pontificating. But it is also entrusting to God that which is God’s and doing only that which God entrusts to us. Even then, “being still” is making ourselves available to the Spirit of God at work in and through us. It’s surrendering our will as we seek the will of God.

When we as leaders let go and know God, we don’t stop leading. We don’t just sit there and wait passively for things to happen. No, we lead with humility before God and reliance on his grace. We recognize our limitations and receive our leadership as a calling and a stewardship. We know the God we serve and are passionate for his exaltation in the earth. We live and lead for God’s purposes and glory, trusting in his grace and relying on his strength. When we lead in a time of crisis, God makes all the difference in the world.

Something to Think About:

Are there things you are carrying right now that you need to let go of? What are these things?

Which aspects of God’s character in Psalm 46 resonate with you in a deep way today? Why?

Can you think of a time in the past when you were able to give over to God that which you had been carrying on your own?

What helps you to “let go” and trust more of your life and leadership to God?

Something to Do:

With your small group or with a close Christian friend, talk about how you’re doing with letting go and knowing God. (Yes, you may well be doing this virtually, either on by phone or digital conference.) See how you might be able to support each other better in your desire to trust God more.

Prayer:

Gracious God, you are indeed our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, the Lord of heaven’s armies, the God of Jacob, the one who is working on earth, the one who makes wars cease, and the one who is exalted in the earth. And you are so much more! How we praise you for who you are and for making yourself known to us.

God, you know I struggle sometimes with letting go, quieting my heart, and knowing you. Help me, I pray, to be so convinced of your goodness and faithfulness that I can indeed let go of all that belongs to you. Show me, Lord, what I am to carry. And even then, may I carry it by your grace and for your glory. Amen.

Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project:
God: The Refuge of His People

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2 thoughts on “Leading in a Crisis: Let Go and Know God

  1. Carol Fisher says:

    Thank you!

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