The Long and Winding Road

“Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. There will be an answer, let it be” ~Paul McCartney (The Beatles)

Released on May 8, 1970, The Beatles came out with their twelfth and final album titled, Let It Be,” almost a month after the group’s break-up (source here). Three weeks after it’s release, I turned 18. And it has been a long and winding road (a title of a song on that album–YouTube video here) ever since then.

It took forty eight years for me to learn a little fact about The Beatles’ title song, “Let It Be” (YouTube video below) that I just found out about yesterday. In the lyrics to the song, Paul McCartney mentions twice “Mother Mary,” and I always thought it was a Catholic religious reference to the mother of Jesus. Turns out that’s not it at all. Paul McCartney’s mother’s name was Mary McCartney, and the “Mother Mary” he refers to in the song is his own mother. How about that, sports fans (or should I say, “music fans”) . . . 🙂

According to McCartney, the song’s reference to “Mother Mary” was not biblical. The phrase has at times been used as a reference to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, McCartney explained that his mother–who died of cancer when he was fourteen–was the inspiration for the “Mother Mary” lyric. He later said: “It was great to visit with her again. I felt very blessed to have that dream. So that got me writing ‘Let It Be’.” He also said in a later interview about the dream that his mother had told him, “It will be all right, just let it be.” When asked if the song referred to the Virgin Mary, McCartney has typically answered the question by assuring his fans that they can interpret the song however they like. (Quote source here.)

The opening phrase to the song, “Let It Be,” is “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me speaking words of wisdom, ‘Let it be.'” Well, we’ve all found ourselves in trouble from time to time, haven’t we? And James 1:2-12 (NLT) gives us the solution:

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

And the Apostle Paul, who was in prison at the time he wrote the following, tells us in Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT):

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

One doesn’t live a long time without discovering that we travel down a lot of different roads in life, and some take us in very unexpected places we never dreamed we’d be (whether good or bad places). The road I’ve traveled for the past decade certainly wasn’t one I ever expected to be traveling. Yet for those of us who aren’t skeptical about God, we know, as Romans 8:28 (NIV) reminds us:

…That in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

And that James 4:13-14 (NIV) reminds us:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Life is fragile, and the road is long and winding. Regardless of the situations we might find ourselves in right now, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV) reminds us to let love rule in our lives, no matter what is going on:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails….

Life lived out as a Christian looks very different from what we see in our everyday world. GotQuestions.org gives us insight into what the life of a Christian looks like:

The Christian life is supposed to be a life lived by faith. It is by faith that we enter into the Christian life, and it is by faith that we live it out. When we begin the Christian life by coming to Christ for forgiveness of sin, we understand that what we seek cannot be obtained by any other means than by faith. We cannot work our way to heaven, because nothing we could ever do would be sufficient. Those who believe they can attain eternal life by keeping rules and regulations—a list of do’s and don’ts—deny what the Bible clearly teaches. “But that no one is justified by the Law in the sight of God is clear, for, ‘The just shall live by faith’” (Galatians 3:11). The Pharisees of Jesus’ day rejected Christ because He told them this very truth, that all their righteous deeds were worthless and that only faith in their Messiah would save them.

In Romans 1, Paul says that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power that saves us, the gospel being the good news that all who believe in Him will have eternal life. When we enter into the Christian life by faith in this good news, we see our faith grow as we come to know more and more about the God who saved us. The gospel of Christ actually reveals God to us as we live to grow closer to Him each day. Romans 1:17 says, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” So part of the Christian life is diligent reading and study of the Word, accompanied by prayer for understanding and wisdom and for a closer, more intimate relationship with God through the Holy Spirit.

The Christian life is also supposed to be one of death to self in order to live a life by faith. Paul told the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Being crucified with Christ means that our old nature has been nailed to the cross and has been replaced by a new nature which is Christ’s (2 Corinthians 5:17). He who loved us and died for us now lives in us, and the life we live is by faith in Him. It means sacrificing our own desires, ambitions, and glories and replacing them with those of Christ. We can only do this by His power through the faith that He gives us by His grace. Part of the Christian life is praying to that end.

The Christian life is also supposed to persevere to the end. Hebrews 10:38-39 addresses this issue by quoting from the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk [2:4]: “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” God is not pleased with one who “draws back” from Him after making a commitment, but those who live by faith will never draw back, because they are kept by the Holy Spirit who assures us that we will continue with Christ until the end (Ephesians 1:13-14). The writer of Hebrews goes on to verify this truth in verse 39: “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” The true believer is one who believes to the end.

So the Christian life is one lived by faith in the God who saved us, empowers us, seals us for heaven, and by whose power we are kept forever. The day-to-day life of faith is one that grows and strengthens as we seek God in His Word and through prayer and as we unite with other Christians whose goal of Christlikeness is similar to our own. (Quote source here).

We may not know where the road is taking us, but as Christians we know the God who is taking us there, and He already knows what lies ahead. As Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us, we need to Trust in the Lord with all our heart, and lean not on our own understanding . . .

In all our ways acknowledge Him . . .

And He shall . . .

Direct our paths . . . .

YouTube Video: “Let It Be” by The Beatles:

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