Sometimes I worry as though the world's outcome depends on me, granting myself way more power and credit than I should. I work "what if" scenarios in my head like I'm reciting a phone number I don't want to forget. Exhausted, I close my eyes and take deep breaths, trying to ease the tension. And when that doesn't work, I clean something: the dust on top of the refrigerator, my boys' bathroom, that spot on the tub I can't seem to remove.
What am I going to do? is the inevitable question swirling haphazardly around my brain. I pray, but my prayers are desperate and fleeting, not faith-based. Instead, they’re like worrisome, wishful, godward thoughts that don't leave peace in their wake. The way I act, you'd think millions of lives depended on me, when that's not at all how it works.
We Are Not in Control
There is someone who bears the weight of the world, but it's not me. It's not you either—it's Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Colossians 1:17 says Christ is "before all things, and in him all things hold together." Christ is never surprised by a situation, nervous about an outcome, or unsure of His abilities. He is sovereign over all things, and He has no problem holding all those things together.
Though it can be hard to believe, the "all things" mentioned in that verse includes our personal (often silent) struggles—even the ones that seem like there is no hope and no way out and no feasible positive outcome.
There is no situation outside the reign of Jesus.
God already knows how He's going to work all things out for our good and His glory as He intricately weaves details, sewing them together as needed, with perfect knowledge of what's best. God is trustworthy. With plans that include drawing us closer, refining our faith, and making us more like Himself, God may not act as we assume. But we can rest assured that He'll do what's immeasurably better.
Though I know these truths, I struggle to claim them. While I'm quick to say God is in control, I'm slow to believe it in my heart. I'm sluggish to rest in His sovereignty instead of my understanding. In the wake of uncertainty, my mind refuses to prioritize Scripture.
Honestly, I'm slow to trust that God is God.
The Lord Is Over All
God is God whether we treat Him as such or not, but when I fret and fear and worry, I am not allowing myself the beautiful benefits of letting God be God. It doesn't matter the situation; there is an avalanche of blessings on the other side of surrender and trust.
The gift of letting God be God is that we can relax, knowing we're in faithful and loving hands. We don't have to resort to deception; we can trust in God's provision. We don't have to cower in fear but can walk forward in confident faith. And when life takes a wrong turn (at least according to us), we don't have to panic. We can trust in God's perfect plan for our lives.
On the flip side, when I'm not acknowledging that God is God, I tend to make plans and move ahead without asking God for direction. But it has never done me any good to exert my own will over the Lord's. Generally speaking, it's a disaster when I trust in my plans instead of waiting on God to fulfill His promises. The stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (and many more) can testify to that.
The gift of surrendering a situation to God is the joy of not moving ahead when we shouldn't. There is peace when I truly surrender to God's will. Not only that, but I can rest in the middle of chaos when I allow God to fight for me. And then, my testimony is as David's was, even as he fled from his son Absalom: "I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me" (Psalm 3:5).
God does not forsake His children. Whether it’s the Lord’s will that I proceed right or left or back or forward (or simply stay put), I don't have to complain or panic. I can trust that the Lord knows better than I do, and as His child, I can be confident I'm right where He wants me.
It's Better to Wait on the Lord
When I'm allowing God to be God, I wait for Him to work things out. Isaiah 30:18 says, "Blessed are all those who wait for him." Before that, verse 15 states, "In quietness and in trust shall be your strength." Those who wait on the Lord will experience a strength that isn't theirs. The gift of letting God be God is that you get to see God work firsthand as He paves a path you didn't know existed.
It's an incredible thing to experience God as you rely on Him. But the truth is that we won't rely on God if we aren't willing to wait on God. And then, we miss out on God. If I'm not patient enough to ask God before I proceed, then I'm not ready to proceed. Anytime we aren't willing to ask God's opinion means we've idolized our own.
The bottom line is this: if our main concern is what we think and not what God thinks, we aren't allowing God to be God. And if that's the case, then we've exerted our word above His. And that’s never a good scenario. My words will fail, but God's Word never does.
This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true. (Psalm 18:30)
We don't know what the future holds, but God does. We don't know how various situations are going to work out, but God does. "The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable" (Isa. 40:28).
Are you experiencing the benefits of letting God be God in your life? If you aren't sure, start by answering this question: are you more frequently filled with faith and joy, or fear and anxiety?
Our first goal as followers of Christ is to know the Lord, for He's made himself known. Our second goal is to surrender to His will, daily allowing the God of the Bible to be the God of our lives because God's sovereignty misses nothing.
We can trust in the unrelenting affections and steadfast faithfulness of Christ, no matter the situation. There may be seasons of waiting, and to be sure, obedience will be required (by the truckload), but one thing's for sure: it's always better to let God be God.