“I can’t take it anymore, God! Why aren’t you helping me?”
The weight of life squeezed out the last shred of belief that God cared about me. What looked like the end of my faith came in the form of a denial from my insurance company. I’d had noticed some developmental delays in my five-year old child. Once my concerns were confirmed, I sprung into mama bear mode, clawing, roaring and looking for the answers to save my precious cub. I learned about a diagnostic test that would provide the lifeline of information we needed. Yes! All of my tireless hard work was about to pay off.
When the coverage denial came a few weeks later, it felt like a bullet too close to my mama bear heart. I slumped on my kitchen floor, crying out, Why God? I’d prayed fervently for God to move the insurance company to approve that test. God must have seen how hard I’d worked to find a solution. All He had to do was move the insurance assessor to say yes. That disappointment turned into a tipping point in my faith. After years of being what I thought was a good Christian, I was disappointed that God didn’t answer my prayer. I wondered if faith was even worth it.
An uncomfortable a-ha moment surfaced when I realized that I’d been treating God like an employee in my problem-solving instead of letting Him lead. Instead of seeking God first before running around for answers, I figured out what I wanted to do and then I told God what I wanted Him to do.
My prayers were more about expecting God to finish my work instead of stopping to seek His will.
In my effort to control the situation, I lost sight of the power, character, and sovereignty of God. This verse is a powerful reminder that God isn’t like us and He doesn’t work like we do:
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”
Isaiah 55:8 (NLT)
Just as the people God spoke to in the above verse believed that following their own path was best, I’d done the same thing. They ended up in a bad place, and I did, too. My efforts to fix my problems didn’t bring me peace, only anxiety, anger, and what looked like the end of my faith. Yet, God’s words in Isaiah 55:8 are not only a declaration of God’s character, but also an invitation for those of us who’ve forgotten how big God truly is.
On that day on my kitchen floor, I uttered a new prayer that signified that I would remember that God was bigger than my biggest problems. It was a solid first step toward remembering that God was in control, and I was not:
“If it’s gonna get done, then God, You’re gonna have to do it.”
Years later, I’d come to realize that this was my first intentional act of surrender. Surrender isn’t a popular topic. Perhaps, because it’s often misunderstood. Surrender doesn’t mean that we’re giving in to hopelessness or defeat. Rather, surrender is giving over what we can’t control to God, who not only knows more than we do, but is bigger than we are and actually has control.
There’s a bonus: When we surrender, God will give us the gift of His peace.
Is there a problem or person that you need to surrender to God? It’s hard to admit that you are powerless, but it’s even harder to live with the fear and frustration of what you can’t control. If you need to take the first step, you can start with another simple Surrender Prayer: God, I can’t. But You can. So, I will let You.
There’s an interesting end to the story of the day I almost walked away from my faith: A few minutes after praying my surrender prayer, my phone rang. It was the administrative assistant from my child’s school who said, “Oh, I’m so glad that I got you. We wanted to let you know that you don’t need your insurance company to pay for your child’s test. There’s a fund at the school that pays for that kind of testing.” I hung up the phone in shock.
Of course, not every prayer is answered so quickly or in accordance with our desired outcome. But, as I reflect on God’s timing in answering that prayer, I believe He was saying to me, “Barb, if it’s gonna get done, I’m going to do it – and I don’t need your help.” In that gracious moment, God wanted me to be clear that He was bigger and more powerful than my biggest problem and I could trust Him.
Surrender doesn’t guarantee that God will answer instantly, nor does it mean that God will behave as you want. It does mean that you can trust God to be faithful, loving and gracious, no matter the outcome.
Thank you for this needed reminder to trust God. I’ve been a “fixer” my entire life, but now am dealing with health issues that don’t have a “fix”. This morning I see my Father God gently taking my face in His hands, loving looking into my eyes, and saying, “Joanne, I got this. I will help you, I will strengthen you to endure the pain. Trust me. You are mine, and I love you more than you can imagine, today and throughout eternity. Let go of your grip on the pain, and place your hands in mine. I am with you always!”
Barb Roose says
What a beautiful picture that you’ve shared with us, Joanne. I love the imagery of God taking your face in His hands. That’s so good – and it’s so true that He can be trusted to love and care for you. Thank you for sharing this with us today!
Ruth Mills says
Barb, what an encouraging, transparent testimony to our Awesome God! Thank you for sharing! Blessings!
Barb Roose says
Hi Ruth! Thank you for your encouraging words, my friend. I appreciate and yes, praise God!
Oh, Barb, I love everything about this post. You have shared a part of your story that resonated with this Mama’s heart…my sons are grown and I have grandkids now, too… but the tendency to want to fix all the things…still rears its ugly (and heavy) head. You have reminded me of the simple truth — He is God, He is able, and He is sovereign. He doesn’t need my instructions or my help. He just asks me to give it to Him, and trust. Thank you.
Barb Roose says
Deb, you are speaking such powerful words of faith and truth to many other women who need it today! Thank you for sharing your comment today!
I have been praying for God to intervene in a relationship for the last five months now. After a disappointing Thanksgiving that left me feeling, as my best friend put it, a little salty, I sat down with my journal and poured out my soul to God. I said, God, you are the only one who can change him. I stopped praying for the relationship and started praying for the person. When I did that, clarity followed. And then compassion. By surrendering the one I love to God, I freed myself from being responsible for fixing something I cannot fix. I still have hope and faith that God can turn this around.
Barb Roose says
Thank you for sharing your comment, Angela. I can relate to your comment in many ways – and I want to celebrate your choice to let go and trust God. I pray that God uses your comment to encourage other women who need to take that courageous step of surrender as well.
Thank you for your transparent testimony. It’s a great reminder for us to trust God. Even when we can’t see it, He is always working.
Barb Roose says
Hi Cheryl! Thanks for stopping by and your kind words. Yes! God is always working even when we can’t see Him. Well said!
Maria perez says
Barb my family is so broken many years , my adult kids are far from god and me i feel alone in my prayers, holidays are tough, i dont know what happened
Barb Roose says
Sweet Maria, if we were sitting next to each other right now, I’d give you a big hug. Dear friend, you aren’t alone when it comes to feeling the heaviness and heartache of the holidays. God promises to be close to the brokenhearted, so He is near to you right now. I’m glad that you stopped by today and I pray that God speaks His love, encouragement and presence over you.
I can totally relate to today’s Devotion. I’ve been a Christian since I was 4 yrs old. I’d even served in ministries in some way, since my mid-Teens. But 20+ yrs ago, I rapidly became physically Disabled, & could no longer work.
It was a time transition, of me needing to surrender repeatedly to God. He brought to the surface some things, that happened to me as a toddler, that had impacted me psychologically. I was able to get emotional healing as I surrendered that damage to God.
And even though I am still physically Disabled, God has continued to provide for me. I’m able to spend more time in Scriptures, & in prayer, than I did before becoming Disabled.
Barb Roose says
Thank you for sharing this powerful testimony of your life and difficult story. May God bless you for your continued faithfulness and decision to surrender.
Barb, I love this. This is where I’m at, and where God has brought me to. “If its gonna get done, God’s gonna do it”. After many attempts at “fixing” health issues (and making things worse) and dragging God along to bless the path I was trying to forge, he made it abundantly clear (amidst my restless squirming and striving and researching) that I was on the wrong path. I don’t know what He has in store for me but I’m surrendered to His will, His plan. I’m listening for His voice because I know he directs my way. What peace there is in knowing we are in His hands. <3
Barb Roose says
Sweet Liz, thank you for stopping by (in)courage and sharing your story today!
Beth Williams says
Women are naturally fixers. We feel we have to solve all of life’s problems for everyone. Sometimes we just need to surrender our problems to God & let Him handle them. David says it best in Psalm 5522 Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. God can & will handle ALL our trials & tribulations. We just need to learn to cast them to Him & let go.
I was 41 and four months pregnant and looking every minute of my 41 years. I was having terrible morning sickness and barely hanging on. My company announced they were closing our offices. I was so afraid of trying to find another job in my condition. I sat in the announcement meeting and praying God, I can’t look for a job like this. You are going to have to take care of it. The next day, my dear friend from High School called without knowing my situation and offered me a job. I about fell on the floor. It is one thing to believe, it is another when God actually picks up the pieces and deals with the situation for you. I was and am so grateful. I had a happy rest of my pregnancy and am still at the company. God knew what was ahead and arranged things then that would take care of my family for the next 22 years.
When my mother died after I took care of her here at home in hospice, I knew that God was in control. And yet, six months later when my dog died unexpectedly from cancer at 5 years old – the sweet dog that had comforted my mother through hospice and had “protected her” when she had nightmares and visions as she was nearing death – I shook my fist at the heavens and in anger kept asking Really? My dog? You took my dog? Oh I was so hurt and so mad. I still don’t understand that loss. But I am at peace now that God knew what He was doing.
All this to say – God loves us. He wants what is best for us. When things don’t turn out the way we think they should – God is still there with us. Surrender brings peace. It is the hardest thing to do for those of us who are competent and capable and are fixers by nature. We think we know God’s mind. I am trying to put into practice surrender in all things. Not just the big stuff that I think I can’t fix alone – but in all things. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone. God bless you and your sweet baby !!!!!