Have you ever been through something only prayers can answer? Have you ever been at a place in your life where you find yourself at the end of your rope?
Are you someone who likes to be in control and you find yourself stuck in a situation where you can do little about it?
It can show up in so many ways: A late night call bringing bad news turning a normal day and taking the floor out from underneath our feet; bad news from the doctor telling us the cancer is growing can land a blow to our hope and suddenly the dreams we were hoping for are on hold or are no longer possible; a single parent working because they are all the kids have left and there is barely enough energy to keep up with work, let alone any moments with the kids.
None of us are exempt from feeling loss or the fear of it. All who live will experience considerable pain either physical, or even harder to express, emotional. Many will suffer from mental, physical, or emotional abuse from others.
I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.-Abraham Lincoln
I’ve been here. Actually, too many times for my own liking.
When the doctor told me an invasive tumor was growing in my ear and threatening to push into my brain I remember after I hung up the phone my only words were, “Oh, God.”
Not long after losing my second job in the span of four years due to an economic downturn, I came home and sat on the couch and looked over at Shannon and began crying. I never felt so devastated. It’s hard to lose your income, but then you also lose your feeling of self-worth along with it and I found myself back to the beginning again.
I’ve found myself in situations which I could do little about. Fear threatened to overtake me and overwhelm me.
I’ve even asked God where He was because I could use a friend right then.
I’ve even experienced this with relationships that have deteriorated without being able to do anything except to pray for the other person, and knowing the relationship may never be restored; I’ve surrendered.
There have been moments in my life when I couldn’t do anything except fall on my knees and pray asking God to take this from me. Have you ever been there? You are not alone if you have.
There comes a moment in our faith when we tell God, “You must do this. I can’t.”
The truth is you were never designed to carry your burdens and cares alone. We are relational beings and this means we need others to pour into us and for us to pour into them. When we find friendships where we are allowed to share from our hearts those difficult burdens we are carrying, the load gets considerably lighter. God is also at work within these difficult moments in hopes for us to realize we still need miracles. We still need Him. He desires to answer some of our prayers.
Our lives seldom turn out the way we plan. Divorce, sickness, loss, and dying dreams painfully remind us of our humanity. I’ve spoken to many who grieve many of these in their lives. I do myself. But there comes a moment when we must lay our burdens down and leave it under God’s care, even if it feels as if we are leaving a part of ourselves there, for most of the things we grieve are the very ones in need of redemption.
I’ve learned to live palms up.
After the second job loss, I realized I could do little about what happened to me. I began turning to God in search of answers, but He rarely likes to do so how I would like Him to.
I live palms up because I used to come in swinging when I prayed about the difficult things. The hardest thing for me to say is, “God, I can’t do anything about this. Whatever your will is, I accept. Even if it breaks me, even if all I have is you, then I surrender.”
God does answer, just not in the typical ways we want Him to. So for the next few years, as God began to iron out the wrinkles of my tattered soul, He began the process of cutting away the pride, teaching me patience, and helping me to learn how to love others and even myself, better. He had me where He wanted me, but I had to surrender in order to learn what He was teaching me.
God crushed my pride so my heart could love. He had to. I was chasing after the wrong things and He knew I would not come easily. I’m hard-headed.
What I’ve discovered is when we surrender, God normally replaces what He takes with something good.
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.-1 Peter 5:6-10 NLT
When we surrender fear we gain hope. By surrendering unforgiveness we are given freedom. When we let go of our own selfish plans we gain God’s bigger plans for our lives. One of the most liberating things we can surrender is comparisons in order to learn contentment; there’s a word you don’t hear about very often! When we surrender our pride we gain love and there is no comparison to what love does in a person and through a person. When we surrender our very lives we will truly find it!
All of our greatest losses are places which can leave us stuck. When we are stuck we cannot grow. Without hope, freedom, contentment, and love we will never arrive at the bigger plans God has for us which will eventually lead us to the life we truly want to live.