As this new year settles in, many of us have set resolutions or goals for how we want our year to go. Many of us have already broken them. The thing is, with any successful goal or resolution, we can’t simply say we want some outcome, but not put in the work to get there. It doesn’t work that way, and we all know it.
If we want to lose weight, we eat healthier and exercise. If we want to learn a new language, we set aside time to learn and practice, honing our skills. If we want to grow our businesses or work our way up in a company, there are courses to be taken, and projects completed.
So why, when something is not categorized as a goal or a resolution, but instead is just an outcome or result we hope for, do we expect to “just happen” without any effort or change on our part? In this world, things are very rarely handed to us. We all have to work for what we want. Salvation is the only exception. It is genuinely a gift that we either receive or deny. But, if we want to do more with our lives on earth than merely just accept the gift to get to heaven, there is no doubt that work has to be put in.
How Do We Let God Without Doing Nothing?
In saying this, I want us to get the big picture that we shouldn’t just be sitting down, letting our trials happen to us. I am not saying fight them, but I am saying, how can we be active participants in our trials to bring about God’s best from this particular struggle we are going through? There is a time for grief, and yes, sometimes even anger. There is a time for sitting back, and letting God handle it for us. None of this should be passive or inactive, though. There is one thing we can and should be doing in every situation…by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6 NASB). Right before this part of the passage, it says, “be anxious for nothing”. It is so hard to fight the anxiety, the worry, the defeat, the hopelessness, etc. when we have so little control of a bad situation that is happening to us or to those we love. But, God’s promises prevail. He tells us that even when we don’t have control, He does, and that should cause us to exhale in relief. He knows all, He sees all, and He is all powerful. Does He stop all or cause all? Absolutely not. I’ve talked about free will before, and even though He knows, and He doesn’t desire, that doesn’t mean He will force His hand to remove our free will. His promises say that the good will win, and evil will not. That isn’t JUST in reference to the final battle of all time. It refers to right here and right now. We see evil prevail around us all of the time, but that doesn’t prove God to be a liar. Evil is having it’s day, but what are we doing to contribute to fighting it? We don’t have to protest or go “make something happen”. We don’t necessarily need to start a movement. We need to be moved to change in our own hearts and lives. We need to seek God, and pray about everything. Give it to God, right? I’m one of those who gives things to God, but then takes it back over and over again, so I understand the struggle with this.
What has your heart grieved today? Is it a conflict or falling out with another person? Is your focus on them, and what they need to do differently, stop doing, or how they should change? That is all a distraction, keeping you from the key to your own survival in this war. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). Stop letting Satan distract you from what is really happening here. The other issue is that our goal is typically to make the pain stop, to get life back to comfortable, and these are not the same goals God has for us. When going to God in prayer, it is important to ask God to help us see things the way He does. To give us a heart like His. There is no formula for praying, so don’t get stuck here. Just go to God with your heart, and spill it out to Him, multiple times a day.
We need an eternal perspective, and that is the only way we will make it through our struggles in one piece. I often waiver when I get too caught up in the pain and details. The impossible aspect of how powerless I often feel. When we are weak, He is strong. When we have physically done everything we can do in a situation, it is at this point (if not sooner) to watch God work. We can’t sit by anxiously, fearfully, and angrily. We must rest in prayer. Things may still be awful, I can tell you that the circumstances in my life are right now. But that means God is moving to refine me, and to show His glory. I have no doubt that He will reveal truth and bring about justice, where I get stuck is on our disagreement of the timeline in which that should happen. I so often forget that God can see ahead, and His heart is for change, not only for evil to stop, but for the evil in my own heart to change. When I don’t trust Him, when I don’t forgive others, when I worry, I am getting in His way. I am the one postponing the process, not Him. I already am not a huge fan of His timeline, His “slowness”, but when I don’t get it, it seems to take even longer.
Eternal Perspective For Our Wait on Earth
Be moved to change and to make change, but don’t focus on circumstances. Focus on God’s heart for your heart. God could change the world in an instant, but where is the glory over forcing people to love you and be good? There is none. He wants us to be able to willingly choose and love Him, to let Him use our lives for good. Stop standing in His way with your worry, and start fighting in prayer. When we put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20), resist the devil (James 4:7), seek first His kingdom (Matthew 6:33), and trust in the Lord with all of your heart (Proverbs 3:5-6) you are actively working towards your hopes and fighting those things which bring on your trials. God grows your heart closer to His, refines you, and pulls you through the fire. You come out looking shiny and new, a near reflection of Him.
So get active in this new year. Stop letting life, struggles and pain just happen to you. Remember, you don’t necessarily need to fight it, but you can’t sit around and do nothing. You want things to change? You have to join the fight God’s way. God can do it without you, but He is inviting you to take part in His greater plan. Don’t let that opportunity slip by you. As a believer, it’s the best invitation you will ever receive.
If you are struggling to keep your head above water (in life), please comment below, shoot me an email, or reach out via social media.
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