Passover is all about being released from bondage, and today as I was doing some last minute passover cleaning, I came across some food items that had been hidden so long in the back of my pantry I had forgotten they were even there! Some of these items were leaven but most of them were non-leaven items I see every day and know that I never use them. I found countless boxes of pasta that I never eat (which makes me question why I bought them in the first place!) but I never throw them out. It was during my cleaning for Passover that I could hear a still, small Voice telling me to “let it all go. If you don’t use it, need it, or want it…let it go.”
Letting things go is really difficult for me. I’m one of those people who keep everything because “you never know” or “just in case” or because it has so many good memories. But the things I don’t get rid of only take up valuable space that I could be using. So why don’t I let them go?
Thousands of years ago, the Israelites had to face the same question. They were leaving a place they had called home for 400 years and were walking away from traditions and a way of life they had adopted as their own. They were leaving all this to follow a God they barely knew and go to a place they weren’t even sure existed. Talk about scary!
The Israelites reached a point in their exodus of freedom that we all reach when we walk away from people or things that we’ve had in our lives for years. It’s that scary place when you feel empty but the thing that used to fill that void in you is no longer there. We’ve all been there. The person you used to turn to is no longer there to call on the phone. The people or places that once brought comfort can’t or don’t hold that place in your life anymore. It’s scary and sad and confusing. What do I do? Where do I go? Who do I turn to?
It’s so easy to judge the Israelites and say they should have turned to YHVH…especially after all the miracles they had seen. But think of all the modern-day miracles you’ve seen in your life. And, yet, how many times have you turned away from God?
It would be really easy to say that in those moments of struggle and sadness that the solution is to simply turn to YHVH. But turning to YHVH is not the hard part. It’s easy to turn to YHVH. The hard part is turning away from the things that used to hold that place.
Too often we make our struggle into something it’s not. We say that because we struggle leaving things behind it must mean that we haven’t really chosen God. But that’s not always the case. Letting go of someone or something, the leaven in each of our lives, is a very difficult emotional process. But just because it’s difficult and you struggle, that doesn’t mean you haven’t chosen YHVH. It means that you’re human…and humans struggle.
We all have leaven in our lives we need to get rid of. Some will be easy to let go of and some will be far more difficult. It will take time and great effort but I believe YHVH wants His people free from emotional, spiritual, and physical bondage in this Passover season.
It was an interesting lesson for me that most of the items I let go of this Passover were not actually leaven, but, rather, things that I simply didn’t need anymore. I bought them at a time when I needed them but it’s been a while since they served any useful purpose to me. It’s an important lesson for each of us to understand, that even if something is not blatant sin (i.e. leaven) it still may need to be removed from our lives. It may have been in your life for a season and a purpose, but that time may have passed.
So turn to Him when things get tough and don’t despair when your heart longs for the things left behind. The key is to not go back to those things when your heart long for them. That’s how you end up building a golden calf and wandering in the desert for 40 years. And that’s not the plan God wants for you this Passover.
This Passover, YHVH desires freedom for His people Whom He has called out from among the nations. Will you let go of the leaven in your life?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares YHVH. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and future.” Jeremiah 29:11