You’ve heard that before, right? “If you love them, let them go.” Based off my understanding of it, I always have deduced it down to meaning simply sometimes the best thing for somebody else isn’t you. Easy enough, I suppose. In my quiet time the other day, though, I came to the story of the Israelites and God when He all but literally says “I love them, so I will let them go. Let’s see how this goes for them.” It brought a whole new depth to this line to me, but it also brought a whole new depth of understanding of God’s love for us. Can you imagine how so very difficult it would be to say “I love you so much that I will let you go and ruin your lives so that you can finally see just HOW MUCH I really do love you”? Like, as a mother, I can’t even imagine letting my sons go make horrible choices with the hope they’d see in their self-inflicted destruction that they actually were so deeply loved by me all along. But that’s exactly what God did in Deuteronomy 32 for the Israelites, and it’s an act of deep deep love. It says “They [the Israelites] made light of the Rock of their Salvation”, offering sacrifices to demons and other worldly things, and “neglected the Rock who had fathered [them].” So God says, “I will abandon them, then see what becomes of them. For they are a twisted generation, children without integrity.”
OUCH. If we read this without a full understanding of God’s character, it feels cruel. If God is so all-knowing and sovereign, why couldn’t he just force the Israelites away from sin? Well, because love can’t exist without choice. It isn’t love if there isn’t a decision to do so. In God’s full comprehension of perfect love, He also knows we cannot be forced to love Him or there’s no true communion between us and our Creator. God’s character is for all things to work for our good, though, and for His glory. Our feelings of abandonment from God is simply the sacrificial removal of his hand on our lives. Yes, sacrificial because it certainly grieves Him. But He is ALWAYS present. He is always near. Sometimes love, as shown by God here in scripture, is to let go for a bit. By the removal of His protection, we can no doubt feel a gap between us and our Creator whether we recognize what [or who] that gap is between or not. When we aren’t living in a connection to our Father, we feel a brokenness, an emptiness, and a void that we can attempt to fill with earthly idols and tangibles… but they will never satisfy our needs. God fills every gap, every void, every ache.
Maybe you feel that disconnect yourself right now from your Father God. Or maybe you connect with the Israelites in this story. You can feel He’s lifted His hand some. Or, maybe you’ve had to step into the painful position of removing yourself from somebody you love with the hopes they’ll return, recognizing how much you truly loved them all along. You loved them so deeply but needed to let them go for whatever the reason. I am not sure what your story is. But, I do know there is a God who is near and present. A God who loves you so much and wants to meet you in your gap. I hope above all that as we celebrate a month ahead of us devoted to love, you can see first and foremost the love of God in and ON your life.