I grew up on records (and 8 tracks, if that doesn’t totally blow your mind). For hours, my mom would let me listen to records and even turn them over for me when I was younger. One of my favorite stories was from Aunt Theresa. She told of a monkey trying to escape from the zoo. Somehow this monkey had managed to steal the zookeeper’s keys. When the zookeeper left for the night, the monkey went into action. He pulled out the key and unlocked his cage. He was free! He sang and pranced for all the other animals at the zoo, as they watched the progress of his escape.
He was within sight of the exit when suddenly something caught his attention on the other side of the fence. An apple! How the monkey wanted that apple! He decided to have the apple and freedom. He leaned down, stuck his arm through the fence, and grabbed the apple; however, he found that he couldn’t pull his fist back through with the apple in it. He yanked and pulled and squeezed, but he could not get through. One of the other animals suggested that he would have to let go and leave the apple for her. No way! He was determined to have that apple! The longer he struggled with the apple, the more nervous all the animals got. Finally, they all started pleading, “Go! Go! Just drop the apple! Get away!” At some point, it seems they could all see the zookeeper walking up. By now they were all yelling, “Drop the apple! Drop the apple!” Then the zoo went totally silent as the zookeeper reached over and grabbed the monkey. Forty years later, I can still remember his question, “Going somewhere, little one?” He retrieved his keys from somewhere and locked the monkey back up. Aunt Theresa ended by asking the children, “Do you think he’ll ever escape?”
One of the little girls answered, “No, there will always be something that he won’t let go of.”
There are so many apples that they are hard to keep track of. There are apples of sin, things that we know that God is displeased with, but we hold on to them anyway. Things we think we want, but they are standing in the way of true freedom.
There are apples of irritation. One of my favorite testimonies is from an older lady in my church who married a widower. There were times in the home that he would do things that would be an irritation. She discovered that she did not even need to tell him about most of those things. She would just look his direction and in her heart say, “Forgiven.” She let go of her little apple.
This year, something was said that I realized could hurt my feelings. I told God, “I refuse to hold on to this. I must keep empty hands, so that You can fill them.” I must not fill up my hands. I choose to let God work.
My pastor, Bro. Johnny Wade, preached a message about letting go of “no hope” to grab hold of “hope.” You can’t have both. You must let go of one, to get the other. I choose freedom! I choose hope! I let go of the apple!
This is an excerpt from the devotional,
The Lord's Dealings
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