I spent the summer of 1992 tumbling, somersaulting, and plowing over the waters of Strom Thurmond Lake in South Carolina. Belying any grand designs, I was simply trying to learn how to water-ski. A painful endeavor, it revealed the deep level of determination I carry within me. One of my greatest errors lay in my refusal to let go of the rope and admit defeat when I had fallen. It was not a pretty sight.

Twenty years later, far from the roar of the boat’s motor and the cool water of a hot summer day, I find myself tumbling, somersaulting, and plowing through the waters of a particular relationship to find reconciliation. Like Samuel, I have mourned over what could have been (1 Samuel 15:35). Believing the call of God was on this individual’s life to lead others into His truth, I am left confused and grieved over the events that have transpired. I’ve tried through my own determination to understand, but instead hit the water with a fierce smack. The message is clear: Let go.

Samuel could have continued to insist that he was bound to see Saul get it right, but God had appointed otherwise (1 Samuel 16:1). The option was no longer whether Saul would obey what God had commanded, but whether Samuel would heed the voice of God in releasing Saul.

In Romans 12:18, Paul writes, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Because Jesus has set within us the message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19), we’re to do all we can to keep our relationships in right accord with the Word. There are also occasions, however, when the right choice is separation—but only through biblical means and measures.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Exodus 1:8–2:10