Everyone has experienced some form of suffering.
Whether it be losing a loved one, a sick family member, in debt, lost your job, or you’re just plain lost and have no idea where to begin again, suffering comes in many shapes and forms.
I’ve been in nearly every situation I listed above, and every single one of them is miserable. I would cry, sit and worry, overthink until I sometimes felt ill. Of course, I knew doing these things wouldn’t solve my problems or make anything better, but my mind didn’t listen to sensible musings. I did everything wrong.
One particular instance takes center stage in my mind.
At the beginning of last year, I purchased a used car. I was in desperate need of transportation for work and only had a minuscule budget to work with. So, I went to a little car lot owned by a preacher and picked out what seemed to be a nice car. The test drive went smooth, everything seeming to function in good working quality. Finally, I thought I’d found a break.
And for awhile I did.
Until things went south.
Everything under the sun went wrong. Ball joints, tie rods, battery, compressors, belts, lights, tires, wheel bearings, motor mounts… the list grew and grew, and so did the cost. Not only was I having to make a car payment, I was also making two extra payments on loans that I had to take out in order to fix everything that was going wrong. The bills kept piling up, and up, and up until there seemed to be a mountain of them towering over me. I felt, in a sense, like I was being consumed by debt.
Of course I was praying about my situation. But, it seemed that God wasn’t answering me. Why? Why was He ignoring me in a time that I needed Him so? He said pray for relief and for our burdens to be taken from us, yet it felt as if He had abandoned me in my time of despair. Had I done something wrong that I didn’t remember, or was this a lesson only He knew I needed?
I realized, as of recently, that it was indeed the latter.
A song by one of my favorite bands, Casting Crowns, came on one day on my way to work. Though I had heard the song before, the words hit home like they never had before. God was finally speaking to me, and I needed to hear what He was saying.
And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on, and just be held
Your worlds not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held
These lyrics made me see the lesson.
Sure, I was praying to God, but was I really trusting Him ? Had I really given Him my struggles and accepted the fact that He could and would handle everything? When I thought about it, I realized that I hadn’t really done that. I was merely begging for my requests to be met while not truly believing He would make my troubles come to pass.
You see, I had been praying. I had been praying for help, and peace, and strength to endure. But, in my frantic prayers, I had forgotten an important verse spoken by Jesus Himself:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Come to me, He says. I wasn’t coming to Him at all. I had just thrown my requests at His listening ear and kept on worrying to no avail. How ashamed that made me. I should have believed without a single doubt that He would deliver me from such trials. I should have said, “Lord, I trust Your will. Though I don’t see You with me, I know You are here and You know more than I do. For Your thoughts are far above my thoughts.”
But I didn’t.
Instead, I whined and worried and did everything I could think of to help my situation, when really, all I should have been doing was trusting God to do what He’s promised us all He would do.
Take our burdens away.
I decided that I wouldn’t have such a shallow faith any longer. From then on I would fully and completely trust the Lord with my struggles, knowing that He would, in due time, answer me according to His perfect will. No longer than I started doing just as He asked, did my situation appear to change. It didn’t happen instantaneously of course, but I did see the changes start.
I got a raise at my job, in another month both of my loans will be gone, and I am now the proud owner of a new Chevy Spark. Yes! No more car parts! I cannot possibly begin to explain the relief this gives me. Of course, if I’d have just let go and let God do what God does best, I probably would never have known these struggles.
So, friends, whatever your situation, whatever your trails are in this moment, I pray you take the time to truly come to Jesus and allow Him to take your burdens. The tunnel may seem dark and endless now, but there is a brilliant light at the end if we keep the faith and seek Him. Despite our prideful nature, we cannot face all things on our own. Let go of stubbornness and weak faith, and renew yourself in His loving presence.
Sometimes the hardest thing we can let ourselves do is to just be still and let Him hold us. Let Him hold you, friends. I know for a fact that He wants nothing more than to do just that!
“For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.” –Isaiah 41:13
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:6-7
“We should try our best to pour our all the burdens in our spirit by prayer until all of them have left us.” –Watchman Nee