I had lunch with a middle-aged couple the other day, and they were sharing about a crisis situation they are struggling with. The stress has been building for quite some time, and the heavy burden of trying to deal with this is taking a toll. They are both believers, but at the same time they admit there is much to learn when it comes to spiritual warfare and getting into position to listen and trust God with their life.
You know, we all have a difficult time with these aspects of the Christian life, but admitting we are vulnerable and weak in our times of adversity is a positive step in the right direction. Many times it's our pride that leads us into even more difficulty when we become convinced we can handle our own problems. When we approach our circumstances through our emotions, it usually does not end up well, but when we humbly follow God's instructions, we can trust that his wisdom knows exactly what to do.
It's true, the Lord can make all things work together for the good, but we must cooperate with his plans. II Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "And he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."
Most of us have heard the old saying, "Let go, and let God," but this is not easy. There may be times when we need to take the bull by the horns, but surrendering is associated with trust, and this is an area where we humans often hesitate. Remember when your dad would hold out his arms and tell you to jump? This is the same idea that we are trying to learn about our spiritual relationship with God, and if we cannot trust him, we cannot please him.
Our nature has a stubborn and independent determination as we are not naturally wired to yield our control to anyone, even God himself. This is why the Bible speaks about our mind being renewed as learning to submit and obey is a learned behavior. This is especially the case when it comes to turning loose of our problems because we would much rather spend our time and energy trying to defeat them with worry and anxiety.
The frustrating reality is that many of our misfortunes are simply too difficult for us to handle. We might as well face it: We cannot solve, repair, heal, restore or resolve our serious obstacles, but God can. "But Jesus beheld them and said unto them, with men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible," Matthew 19:26.
When we finally realize we are unable to fix what is broken, we then have the choice to give our problems over to God and believe that he will step into the need and create a miracle. This is great news!
Charles Swindoll is quoted as saying, "We must cease striving and trust God to provide what he thinks is best and in whatever time he chooses to make it available. But this kind of trusting doesn't come naturally. It's a spiritual crisis of the will in which we must choose to exercise faith."
I realize it's difficult to understand, but Jesus offers a very different perspective about suffering. While we are asking how God could possibly create anything good from our difficult situation, we usually forget that he knows everything and is waiting to use our circumstances to manifest his glory.
Even though we may experience a thunderstorm occasionally, let us be reminded that eventually they stop and the sun comes out. Our life was not intended to be a continual valley of shadows or for us to carry our worries and heavy burdens. Matthew 11:28 declares, "Come unto me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."
Today as you continue to face your giant and it seems there is no hope for victory, consider transferring this burden over to Jesus and allow him the opportunity to intervene. Linda Shepherd is quoted as saying, "If you are caught up in situations beyond your control, the solution is not figuring out how God can save you; it's trusting that he will."
William F. Holland Jr. is a minister and chaplain based in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Read more at billyhollandministries.com.