I recently heard a story on how natives of the South Sea island of Borneo capture monkeys to sell to zoos.
The hunters will hollow out a coconut, leaving a hole in one end just big enough for a monkey to slip in its hand. Inside the hollowed-out coconut, the natives put a delicious green banana, the monkey's favourite food. This coconut is then chained to the roots of a nearby tree. Some unsuspecting monkey will eventually come along and stick his hand in this coconut to get the banana inside. Of course with their hand around the banana, they can no longer pull their hand back out.
Soon the hunters will return and the monkey will begin to pull and scream but because he will not open his hand and let go of the banana, he is caught in the trap! The monkey has become a prisoner.
It was such a powerful object lesson for me on how many things I try to hold on to instead of releasing to the Lord and thereby finding peace and freedom. I didn’t see myself as a prisoner but I was; a prisoner to my cares and worries. Somehow I thought I needed to keep hanging on to them or they wouldn’t be okay. We can hear the story about the monkey and think ‘how silly’! He literally could be free from his trap simply by opening his hand and letting go of the banana that he can’t have anyway! But I was like that silly monkey. Somehow I thought I needed to keep working on solving my problems even when I knew I really couldn’t do anything about them. They were not within my control and yet I would allow them to completely occupy my mind seemingly every minute of every day. I was the trapped monkey! Unhappy with my circumstances but unwilling to let go! What a picture I saw.
1 Peter 5:7,8 says, “Casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, like a roaring lion walks about, seeking whom he may devour”.
And then, Matthew 10:29-31 says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
The Lord loves you and cares for you but never forget that we too have an enemy that is seeking to destroy us. Be ever watchful of that and realize that Satan would love to discourage and defeat us from living the life of freedom and power that God desires for us. When we surrender our lives (and our problems we stubbornly hang on to) God is able to work on our behalf. What a wonderful way to live!
Does that mean I won’t have problems? Absolutely not! But I can tell you, when I prayed and told God I was finally letting go of the “banana” in my life, He began to work and accomplish more than all my years of worrying and struggling ever did! I am no longer a prisoner but finally free to stand back and watch God accomplish His work and His purpose in my life and in the lives of my family. I have peace knowing my problems are in the best care possible. Now that’s worth letting go for! What are you holding on to?