One of my favorite stories is about a father who took his little daughter to a store where she found a fake pearl necklace in a shiny box. The pearls were more than the father wanted to spend so he told his daughter that if she wanted the pearls, she could earn money doing jobs for the family and neighbors. The little girl worked tirelessly for weeks until she finally had enough money. What a joyous day it was when she could finally buy the pearls she loved so much. She held on to them tightly and never took them off.
One night the father came in to tuck her into bed and asked her, “Honey, do you love me?” She replied, “You know I love you, Daddy!” “Then give me your pearls,” he said. The little girl’s face dropped. With her head bowed, she told her Dad she would give him anything except her pearls. The same thing happened the next night. On the third night the father came into the room and the little girl was sitting on the bed with tears streaming down her face and her hands cupping something in her lap. She turned her tear-stained face to her Dad, opened her hands to reveal the pearls and said, “I love you so much Daddy! Here are my pearls.” At that moment the father reached in his back pocket and pulled out a real pearl necklace. As he gently fastened it around her neck, he assured her of his love for her.
How like our Heavenly Father! He loves us so much and wants to lavish His love on us with good and perfect gifts. Yet we are so like the little girls, holding on tightly to plans, objects, dreams, and hopes that will never satisfy. I wonder how many fake, cheap, worthless things I have been hanging on to that God wants to remove so He can fill my life with His good and perfect gifts.
I was reading a quote by Shiela Walsh today where she talked about the command from Psalm 46:10a, “Be still and know that I am God…”. She said, “The original Hebrew root of "be still" doesn’t mean "be quiet"; it means "let go."
Most of us don’t “let go” easily.
We aren’t even aware of what we are clinging to. Perhaps we all need to ask the Spirit to examine us and reveal to us what “fake pearls” we may be holding on to. What do we need to let go of? Is there a spirit of pride or self-righteousness that is clogging our hands? How about burdens of guilt, shame, or an unforgiving spirit? Maybe self-reliance and trust in our own plans are keeping you from accepting God’s grace and guiding. Perhaps we are living with a broken heart or crushed spirit because of the unkindness of others or negative circumstances.
Whatever is keeping us from experiencing the fullness of God’s love, we need to open our hands, let go, and let God fill them with His love, joy, peace, hope, strength, and blessings. Jesus’ death is evidence that God believes you deserve the real thing…not “fake pearls.”
When we do let go, it opens us up to knowing God in a way that is far greater than knowing facts about Him. Letting go out of deep love and total submission allows us to experience the blessing of “just being” with God and an opportunity to know Him at a visceral level. There we become enveloped in the intimacy of His glorious presence, overwhelmed by His love, amazed by His great power, awed by His majesty, and breathless with wonder. This God, the Great I AM, is our Father, our Abba, our creator, our righteous judge. In His presence we begin to discover anew just who we are…we are beloved of God, His adopted children, His treasured possession. He loves us just as we are…broken, imperfect, wounded, and needy.
As we open hands that are holding on to earthly things, we are free to reach out to take hold of the one who is taking hold of us. When our hands open in praise and gratitude, we can no longer hold on to those things we once thought so important.
All we want it more of Him.
More opportunity to love Him.
More ways to serve Him.
More occasions to worship Him.
More time to talk with Him in prayer and listen to Him through His word.
May the Spirit grant you the grace to “be still and know that I am God.”