When Letting Go Seems Foolish

by | Oct 20, 2012 | Saturday

Perform impossibilities

or perish. Thrust out now

the unseasonal ripe figs

among your leaves. Expect

the mountain to be moved.

Hate parents, friends and all

materiality. Love every enemy.

Forgive more times than seventy-seven.

Camel-like, squeeze by

into the kingdom through

the needle’s eye. All fear quell.

Hack off your hand, or else

unbloodied, go to hell.

Thus the divine unreason.

Despairing now, you cry

with earthy logic – How?

And I, you God, reply:

Leap from your weedy shallows.

Dive into the moving water.

Eyeless, learn to see

truly. Find in my folly your

true sanity. Then Spirit-driven,

run on my narrow way, sure

as a child. Probe, hold

my unhealed hand, and

bloody, enter heaven.

 Luci Shaw, The foolishness of God, 1 Corinthians 1:20-25

May we each remember the unfathomable ways of God cannot always be explained and often seem foolish to the hearts of men. And perhaps sometimes, and most of the time, and always, we must let go of what feels counterintuitive. 

Welcome to the Weekend Friends!

This is #20 in the series 31 Days of Letting Go. You can read the collective here. If you are a writer, I invite you to link up any post you’ve written on the theme of letting go in the comments here on Friday. Subscribe to receive the series in your inbox or feed by adding your address in the side bar under Follow Redemptions Beauty.

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  1. Amy

    Thanks Shelly! It’s Saturday night in China and I came with a friend to Shanghai to do more research on Chinese church bells. FASCINATING (our fourth city to check out). These trips bring flesh to what you’ve written — I am always left speechless and blessed and humbled when I learn more about church history here!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I can imagine that you are inspired by the culture and what you are finding there. I know I would be. Love visiting different cultures.

  2. Jillie

    Yes…”the divine unreason”. The counterintuitive. The upside-downedness of God’s ways. Who can understand it? Yet, it works. Because His ways are not our ways…His thoughts not our thoughts. Letting go to gain. Dying to self that we might live to Him. Casting off all that is ‘reasonable’ and familiar and comfortable, to follow His way. The narrow road.
    Thank you for this, Shelly. Difficult words, but beautiful.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I think the Christ life is much swimming upstream. Sometimes all that swimming makes a girl weary.

  3. wynnegraceappears

    Wow, a double edged sort of beautiful, hard, challenge or is it a triple edged sword. Layers upon layers of God’s word reconfigured in a poetic form. I must read this over and over to fully meditate in the complexity of His word, found here. Thanks for introducing me to her work, was not familiar with Luci Shaw before now, though she sounds familiar and I feel I should be.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I know Elizabeth, I had to read it several times too. The first time I read it, it surprised me. Luci was a good friend of Madenline L’Engle, they wrote some books together.

  4. Megan Willome

    Dang, Luci Shaw is good! That’s a real poet.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      She is good, isn’t she. Blown away actually.

  5. Lynn Morrissey

    Shelly, this is soooooo serendipitous! I was literally just reading Luci Shaw’s poetry as part of my quiet time this morning! I am so glad that you are introducing your readers to her deep. delightful work. In case they are wondering, she was born in England, serves as writer in residence at Regent College in Canada, and is a foremost contemporary Christian poet. She has also written books on writing and a memoir, God in the Dark, about her first husband’s death to cancer. She was a long-time friend of author Madeleine L’Engle, and the two wrote several books together. I needed this reading this morning as I struggle to perform impossibilities. And if I don’t—I perish?! Wow. Strong stuff! But she is telling me to believe in the GOD of impossibilities and unreasonableness (according to *man’s* feeble reasoning). By His grace I can do what makes no sense: Believe that HE can move impossible mountains, squeeze my mountainous unbelief through a narrow needle’s eye, quell my compelling fear, and give me (a non-swimmer!) the courage and ability to let go the intuitive, embracing the illogic of counterintuitive-ness by leaping from the lifeless shallows into the shoreless, moving depths that teem with His life and fish and who-knows-what?! It makes no sense. I CAN’T SWIM! But He is teaching me to float on His purposes, assured that He Himself will buoy me up. Embracing counterintuitive-ness, I can close my faithless eyes, and truly see. This, too, makes no sense. Yet in so doing, I can apprehend the supernatural heartsight of faith I need to see impossible invisibilities, which are more real than what I see on the surface of my life.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Amen Lynn. Love the serendipity and the way God used all of it to speak something profound to you at the very moment you were ready to listen.

  6. hisfirefly

    What wonderful words from His word- remixed.
    Thanks for sharing Luci’s talent.

  7. ro elliott

    I love this…love this…and may God give you peace and surrender as you let go of the piece gone missing…He can redeem all things and grace can bring a sweetness to the bitter. praying and lifting you up~

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Ro. I told my husband today that I haven’t cried yet, so I know I’m letting go and trusting Him. I re-wrote some of it today.

  8. Stefanie

    Beautiful, my friend!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Stefanie, her words are challenging.

  9. Jody Lee Collins

    Shelly–I have many of Luci Shaw’s books but I don’t think I’ve read THAT poem……..amazing. oh. wow. Thank you for sharing. that woman is anointed and your photos blow me away as well…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I was introduced to Luci through another book and then found out she was a close friend of Madeline L’Engle. Would like to get one of her books. Which one do you like the best Jody?

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