There are moments in life when the unexpected happens, when a tragedy or problem comes seemingly out of nowhere like a summer storm, and we wonder how we’ll make it through. These moments are life-changing. It’s impossible to come to such an impasse and not be changed. The question becomes, “Will it make me better, or will it make me bitter?”
Last week, I talked about my recent life-defining moment (See Slaying Dragons). If I’m honest, for almost a month I wrestled with the question of how to respond to my personal tragedy. True, no one died, yet for me, such a huge, unexpected sickness had me questioning what God was doing in my life. For four years everything seemed to indicate that God was slowly healing me. Dealing with a brain infection went against what I believed God was doing. I was expecting good to happen in my life and instead, I got pain and drama.
I couldn’t help but think of Job as I struggled to respond to God in absolute trust. Job went from the height of success to living in desolation, and although he didn’t walk away from God like he was tempted to, he did question what God was doing. It isn’t until Job 40-42 that he finally learns an important truth. Knowing God is in charge is completely different than resting in His authority.
One of the most quoted verses in the Old Testament is Psalm 46:10, which says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Most people think that “be still” means to “be quiet.” However, the original Hebrew root for this phrase means something completely different. What God is actually saying in this verse is “let go.”
Let go and know that I am God.
I’m not very good at letting go. I like order and plans. I like knowing what’s going to happen next. So, to come to a place where I can take a step back, throw my hands up in surrender, and say, “God, this is yours,” is incredibly difficult for me to do. Yet it’s one of the most vital things a believer can do, to come to a place in life of absolute surrender where we can honestly say, “God, I need You more than I need to be healed. I need you more than I need this problem to be resolved. I need you more than I need my family and friends. I’m letting go. Help me know that You are God!”
So many of us are going about our lives trying to hang onto a little bit of control. We may not admit it, but we don’t want to give everything to God. We want to be in charge of our lives; we want to have a say in what happens next. As the poet William Ernest Henley said, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”[i] But this isn’t biblical or God-honoring. It only steals our joy and peace when trials come our way, and it keeps us from walking in all the blessings God wants to give us.
It’s time to let go!
“Cease striving and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” ~ Psalm 46:10 (NASB)