Free to Relax

Yael Eckstein  |  July 29, 2020

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. — Deuteronomy 4:39

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Va’etchanan, which means “I pleaded,” from Deuteronomy 3:23–7:11.

When the coronavirus began sweeping across the globe, one thing became perfectly clear — how little control we really have over such things. Yes, we could take steps to protect ourselves by washing our hands, sheltering in place, and wearing masks, but ultimately, we couldn’t completely stop the virus from its deadly path.

And the truth, of course, is that we’re never really in control of our lives, are we? That can be a frightening thought for some, but it also can be freeing. If we know that we’re not in control, we can step back and let God take control. And that can free us to relax, knowing that God is orchestrating everything for the very best.

In our reading this week, Moses says these important words: “Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.” Why does Moses say both “Acknowledge” and “take to heart?” The answer is because knowing something in our heads is not the same as feeling it in our hearts. When we know something, it doesn’t have the same impact on our lives as when we feel it and know it as the truth in our hearts. When we take it to heart, it affects our everyday lives.

Two other crucial words in our verse are “this day.” That means that Moses wasn’t just saying these words to the Israelites thousands of years ago. He is telling them to us as well on this very day. Today, we need to take to heart, in the deepest way possible, that there is nothing but God in heaven and on earth. He alone controls it all, from up there to down here.

Nothing is under our control, or under that of any other human being or circumstance. We need to know today that God is in control of everything, so we might as well relax. We need to stop worrying about things beyond our control and instead, “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22).

Your turn:

What do you need to let go of and give to God? Spend a minute or so right now to “cast your cares” on Him!

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